Even though it is unlikely that you heard about this earthquake – unless you live in Alaska – I am OK and yes, I have a new OOTD for you at the end of this post.
In the night from Saturday to Sunday, I woke up at 1:30 am. I felt three waves of an earthquake shaking the house. It sounded like you twist a wooden box. Well, Alaska houses are made from wood. I turned around thinking “it’s not even a four pointer.” A minute later or so, the house shook again and three waves went thru accompanied by the noise. It was a weaker earthquake than the one before. Then later at night, I woke up from another much weaker quake around 3:40 am or so.
Ever since I had experienced the 7.9 earthquake on the Denali Fault in 2002, earthquakes feeling less than a magnitude of 4 don’t get me under the table. This year, I already felt four earthquakes. The other one occurred when I was at work.
Magnitude and location
On Sunday morning I looked up the three earthquakes on the web page of the Geophysical Institute’s Alaska Earthquake Center. The first earthquake had a magnitude of 7.1 at its epicenter in 76 miles (122 km) depth 60 miles (97 km) west of Homer. Homer is a little Artisan town about 577 miles (928 km) south of Fairbanks at the coast of the Gulf of Alaska in the Cook Inlet. In summer, Homer is about an 11 h drive from Fairbanks. Homer is a beloved tourist destination in summer.
What a devastating night for the people in Homer. When the 7.9 earthquake hit us in 2002, it was at least during daytime. The Homer earthquake was the largest intermediate-depth earthquake in the region of the Cook Inlet ever since onset of recording in the late 60s. According to the Earthquake Center, the quake occurred inside the subduction zone of the Pacific Plate. A subduction zone is where an oceanic plate glides underneath a continental plate into the mantle of the Earth. Earthquakes often occur at the intersection of the oceanic and continental plates.
Like it is common for earthquakes of such high magnitudes, there have been many aftershocks. One of them was the one that had disrupted my sleep later in the night. It had a magnitude of 4.3 at the epicenter and started at 3:37 am. However, stronger ones were reported as well, but I did not feel them.
I feel sorry for the people in Homer. They will have an annoying time ahead. From my experience with the 7.9 earthquake in 2002, they will have about six months or more with aftershocks. Back in 2002, the magnitude of aftershocks declined with time and the time between aftershocks seemed to increase. In the first couple of days after the 2002 earthquake, there were several aftershocks a day. It was really annoying. I believe that this time of aftershocks made me turn around in the night from Saturday to Sunday just ignoring the quake as it felt only like a not even a 4 pointer magnitude in Fairbanks.
Tsunamis and earthquakes
Despite the 7.1 earthquake, people in Homer were lucky for not also being hit by a tsunami. A big thread for communities located at a coast in conjunction with earthquakes are tsunamis. Recall that Fukushima was hit by a damaging tsunami after the earthquake. The 9.2 Alaska Earthquake on Good Friday on March 27, 1964 at 5:36 pm Alaska time in Prince William Sound occurred in about 15.5 miles (25 km) depth with an epicenter about 56 miles (90 km) west of Valdez. Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska back then and today (half of the Alaskans live in Anchorage), was only 75 miles (120 km) west of the epicenter. The earthquake caused a tsunami that placed boats on land and flooded lower locations when hitting the beach. Note that it is a rumor that the low number of victims was due to the fact that that big Alaska Earthquake hit on Good Friday. Americans work on Good Friday.
During the big Alaska Earthquake on Good Friday, the earth shook about 4.5 minutes. The 7.9 Denali Fault earthquake of 2002 lasted about 2.5 minutes. Back then I was sitting under the table and could not distinguish any waves. This inability was the most scariest part of the earthquake for me. Without being able to distinguish the waves you can’t assess when it will be over.
The 1964 Good Friday earthquake is the strongest recorded in US history. The world’s strongest recorded earthquake occurred in Chile in 1960 with a magnitude of 9.5. In all these cases, the Pacific Plate has underneath the American Plates.
Other Alaska earthquake facts
Did you know that Alaska has much more earthquakes than Oklahoma and California? The reason why you rarely hear about Alaska earthquakes is the low population in Alaska. If you would spread us Alaskans out equally over Alaska, we would all have 0.9 square miles (~2.331 km2) of our own. That area is larger than the size of Monaco, which has only 0.78 square miles (2.02 km2.
So far no human injuries have been reported from Homer.
Posh chic work outfit with asymmetric dress
This work outfit features a sleeveless dress that is at the edge between a sheath dress and a shift dress. The slightly loose cut adds comfort and permits a thick sweater underneath on very cold days. I like the zipper pockets and the asymmetric hem. They give an edge to the gray dress. I paired this dress with a gray sweater the first time I wore it and these details kept the outfit from getting into gray mouse territory. Pink and gray is always a nice combination. It is less harsh than the pink plus black that I loved to wear in the 80s. The pumps match with the color of the tight leading to a long lean look of the legs.
Focus Alaska is a series on High Latitude Style featuring Alaska curiosa, lifestyle, wildlife, street style, weather, and insider travel tips.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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