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.


Somali militant-turned-politician arrested before regional vote

Updated 9 min 45 sec ago
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Somali militant-turned-politician arrested before regional vote

MOGADISHU: A former senior Somali militant leader was arrested on Thursday, the government said, less than a week before he was scheduled to run for a regional presidency.
The government accused Muktar Robow, who defected from the extremist Al-Shabab movement last year, of “organizing a militia” in Baidoa, the capital of the southwestern Bay region, and seeking to “undermine stability.”
“These actions indicate that he never relinquished his extremist ideologies and is ready to harm the Somali people again,” the government said in a statement.
Authorities had been attempting to prevent Robow from standing in the December 19 election because he remains subject to US sanctions for his time as deputy leader of Shabab.
The Al-Qaeda affiliate Shabab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government for more than a decade.
Police sources speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that Robow had been arrested in Baidoa and taken to the capital Mogadishu.
Baidoa residents told AFP that hundreds of supporters took to the streets in protest of the detention of Robow, who enjoys the support of several clans and is regarded as a serious candidate for the region’s leader.
Sporadic gunfire was heard in the city, the residents said.
“This is a violation of democracy, Robow was standing in his region and his people wanted him. The government has no right to arrest him, this will lead to violence,” said Mohamed Sheik Ali, a Baidoa resident told AFP.
“The people are burning tires and the police are firing gunshots to disperse them. There is gunfire and there are casualties as well,” said Osman Adan, another witness.
“Armed militia and supporters of Robow have reportedly clashed with the police and the situation in town is tense as we speak,” he added.
Robow’s run for office has exposed the tensions between Somalia’s federal states, which want greater autonomy from a national administration keen to safeguard its central powers.
Robow defected from the Shabab in August last year. For a time the US government had offered a $5 million (4.4 million euro) bounty for his capture.
In 2013 Robow split from former Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and sought refuge in the nearby region of Bakool, without completely breaking off links to the group.
Forced out of Mogadishu in 2011, the Shabab have since lost the bulk of their strongholds though they still control vast swathes of mainly rural zones from where they launch guerilla operations on government, security and civilian targets.