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Sunday’s earthquake largest to hit Southcentral since 2018, not an aftershock

Alaska Earthquake Center: ‘It’s a good, simple reminder that we live in earthquake country.’
Published: Jun. 1, 2021 at 6:59 PM AKDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 10:39 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - More than 150 aftershocks have followed Sunday night’s earthquake, but scientists said the quake itself was not an aftershock of the Nov. 30, 2018 magnitude 7.1.

According to the United States Geological Survey, Sunday’s quake was a magnitude 6.1 about 45 miles North of Chickaloon, with an epicenter below the Talkeetna Mountains. The shaker left many people in Anchorage wondering if it was a result of the November 2018 quake, but Alaska Earthquake Center Director Michael West said it was too far from the 2018 epicenter and is considered its own earthquake.

“I was sitting at home, and I was just getting ready to go to bed,” Dale Walther said. “The earthquake started, I clicked the video button.”

Walther, who is from Anchorage, caught Sunday’s quake on camera.

Walther said he was in Anchorage for the 1964 magnitude 9.2 earthquake and the 2018 magnitude 7.1.

“Every time there’s an earthquake like this, the first thing that comes to mind is having been in the 1964 earthquake here in Anchorage,” Walther said.

Sunday’s earthquake was almost like reliving the 1964 quake, he said.

“I felt a little bit afraid, a little bit concerned, and a little bit relieved that it didn’t continue as long as it might have,” Walther said.

The earthquake was felt across many miles of Alaska.

“We forget the power that a magnitude 6.1 earthquake has,” West said. “[Sunday’s quake] is a good, simple reminder that we live in earthquake country.”

The magnitude 6.1 and the 2018 magnitude 7.1 quakes had similar mechanics, but West said they felt different to people in Anchorage.

There are still aftershocks happening from the 2018 quake, but West said people in Anchorage described Sunday’s quake as a long, rolling sort of motion, but the aftershocks from the 2018 quake feel like a short, jarring motion in Anchorage.

“Those long, rolling waves are more typical of an earthquake that is happening much further away” as Sunday’s was from Anchorage West said.

The Alaska Earthquake Center didn’t get any reports of damage, he said, but the same might not ring true in other parts of the world.

“That is a very significant event in other parts of the world, a magnitude 6.1 has the potential to kill large numbers of people,” West said.

Walther said, “Each time we have another earthquake, of course, it brings back memories of the ones before.” He said it is always relieving to know it is not the next big one.

West said the 2018 earthquake was roughly 30 times more energetic than Sunday’s quake.

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