Earthquake Felt At Shemya Air Station

A strong earthquake shook Shemya Island this morning, but caused no damage to Eareckson Air Station.

The 6.0-magnitude earthquake occurred just before 8am in a mostly uninhabited part of the Western Aleutians. The epicenter was approximately 100 miles away from Shemya Island, and the dozen or so airmen stationed there noticed the ground shaking.

“Everybody felt it, but there were no thrown objects,” says Natasha Rupert, a seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Information Center. “It wasn’t even strong enough to topple objects from the shelves.”

No injuries were reported.

Rupert adds that earthquake was not powerful enough to trigger a tsunami. She says that it was a strike-slip earthquake, where pieces of earth move against each other instead of toppling over each other. Rupert adds that even if it had been a more intense “thrust” earthquake, a magnitude of 6.0 isn’t powerful enough to create a big wave.

“It probably would be measurable,” says Rupert. “But it would be on the order of – I don’t know – an inch?”

Because the earthquake occurred in an isolated region with little monitoring equipment, the Alaska Earthquake Information Center will only be able to detect aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or greater. As of noon, none have been documented.

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