Strong 6.2-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Alaska

Sept. 25 Alaska earthquake
Map of today's earthquake (Sept. 25, 2014) in southern Alaska. (Image credit: Alaska Earthquake Information Center)

A strong earthquake hit southern Alaska today (Sept. 25), rattling nerves and shaking buildings hard enough to send people running outside for safety. The magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck today at 9:51 p.m. local time (17:51 UTC), according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The epicenter was about 79 miles (127 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage. The earthquake originated 63 miles (102 km) deep, the USGS reports. The quake was felt widely throughout the state, from Fairbanks to Valdez.

There were no immediate reports of injuries. A photo of toppled bookcases in Anchorage was posted at the Alaska Dispatch News. Simiarly-sized earthquakes have brought down heavy pieces of furniture and equipment, and tossed merchandise from store shelves. The earthquake did not produce a tsunami, the National Tsunami Warning Center said.

Earthquakes of this size are sometimes followed by significant aftershocks. But the damage caused by any single event depends on the quake's depth, proximity to populated areas, building standards in the region, as well as the type of earthquake. The USGS frequently updates the magnitude of an event after more data is analyzed.

An earthquake's magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source. It is just one predictor of the shaking that may ensue, which is affected by local and regional geology. Scientists know in a general sense what causes earthquakes but are unable to predict specific quakes.

This article will be updated if significant additional information becomes available. Find more earthquake news here.

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Becky Oskin
Contributing Writer
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.