Small earthquake adds to Sitka’s holiday blast

A small earthquake rattled dishes along the outer coast of Southeast Alaska Monday evening. The US Geological Survey reports that a magnitude 3.6 quake occurred about 20 miles west of Whale Bay off the coast of Baranof Island, at 7:20 PM. The epicenter was located at a depth of about 21 miles below the surface of the earth.

The epicenter of the quake was about 20 miles west of Whale Bay, and 21 miles below the surface. (USGS Data)
The epicenter of the quake was about 20 miles west of Whale Bay, and 21 miles below the surface. (USGS Data)

In Sitka, the quake was felt as two sharp jolts in quick succession. Many residents doing routine activities failed to notice anything at all. Some thought it was more 4th of July fireworks.

There was no tsunami danger from the quake. In fact, the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center did not post details of the event. Cara Gately, senior watchstander at the center, says the minimum threshold for reporting on their site is magnitude 4.0.

“Unless,” she says, “there’s a magnitude 3.9 centered in downtown Anchorage at 5 PM and everyone calls us wanting to know what happened!”