Strongest-ever earthquake hits Alaska’s North Slope region

Several aftershocks were reported across northern Alaska. (Photo credit: earthquake.usgs.gov)
Updated 13 August 2018
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Strongest-ever earthquake hits Alaska’s North Slope region

  • A magnitude 6.4 earthquake is 15.8 times bigger and 63.1 times stronger than a 5.2 earthquake
  • The jump from a 5.2 to Sunday's 6.4 is significant because earthquakes rapidly grow in strength as magnitude rises

KAVIK RIVER CAMP, Alaska: Alaska’s North Slope was hit Sunday by the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the region, the state’s seismologist said.
At 6:58 a.m. Sunday, the magnitude 6,.4 earthquake struck an area 42 miles (67 kilometers) east of Kavik River Camp and 343 miles (551 kilometers) northeast of Fairbanks, the state’s second-biggest city. The agency says the earthquake had a depth of about 6 miles (9.9 kilometers.)
State seismologist Mike West told the Anchorage Daily News that the quake was the biggest recorded in the North Slope by a substantial amount. “This is a very significant event that will take us some time to understand,” he told the Daily News.
The previous most powerful quake in the North Slope was in 1995 at magnitude 5.2, West told the newspaper.
The jump from a 5.2 to Sunday’s 6.4 is significant because earthquakes rapidly grow in strength as magnitude rises, he said.
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake is 15.8 times bigger and 63.1 times stronger than a 5.2 earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey.
“That’s why at 6.4 this changes how we think about the region,” West said. “It’s a little early to say how, but it’s safe to say this earthquake will cause a re-evaluation of the seismic potential of that area.”
The magnitude 6.4 earthquake was felt by workers at the oil-production facilities in and around Prudhoe Bay, the News reported.
The newspaper says that Alyeska Pipeline said the earthquake did not damage the trans-Alaska pipeline. The company says in a tweet that “there are no operational concerns” related to the earthquake, but the pipeline will be inspected.
At 7:14 a.m., a magnitude 5.1 earthquake hit another area in northern Alaska. The USGS says the earthquake hit a spot about 340 miles (549 kilometers) northeast of Fairbanks.
Several aftershocks were reported across northern Alaska.
The Alaska Earthquake Center says the earthquakes were felt across the eastern part of the state’s North Slope Borough and as far south as metro Fairbanks. The center adds that there are no reports of damage.


Magnitude 8.2 quake strikes in the Pacific, no damage reported on Fiji

The epicenter was located 167 miles (270 km) east of Levuka in Fiji. (US Geological Society)
Updated 58 min 58 sec ago
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Magnitude 8.2 quake strikes in the Pacific, no damage reported on Fiji

LOMBOK: A massive quake of magnitude 8.2 struck in the Pacific Ocean close to Fiji and Tonga on Sunday but it was so deep that it did not cause any damage, authorities in Fiji said.
The US Tsunami Warning Center also said the quake was too deep to cause a tsunami.
The quake’s depth at 347.7 miles (560 km) would have dampened the shaking at the surface.
The director of Fiji’s Mineral Resources Department, which runs the country’s seismology unit, told Reuters on Sunday the earthquake was widely felt, but there were no reports of damage.
“We are monitoring the situation and some places felt it, but it was a very deep earthquake,” Director Apete Soro said by telephone.
The quake was initially reported as a magnitude 8.0 and then upgraded to 8.2, a magnitude that could cause tremendous damage had it not been so deep.
“I would not expect any damage. People will feel it but it’s so deep that I would not expect any damage,” USGS geophysicist Jana Pursley said by telephone.
The epicenter was located 167 miles (270 km) east of Levuka in Fiji and 275 miles (443 km) west of Neiafu in Tonga.
Hotel staff in Neiafu told Reuters by telephone that they did feel the earthquake, but it did not cause any damage.
The area is located on the earthquake-prone Ring of Fire.