A 7.0 earthquake jolted Anchorage and the rest of Southcentral Alaska on Friday morning, cracking and collapsing roads and highways, damaging buildings, knocking out power and sending people scrambling outside and under furniture. The shaking left many homes a mess and aftershocks continued through the night and into Saturday morning.
A number of injuries, at least one serious, were reported in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. A homeowner fighting a fire caused by the earthquake at his home in Houston suffered serious airway burns, Houston fire officials said. Hospitals in Anchorage and Mat-Su reported injuries such as lacerations from broken glass. A patient came to Alaska Regional Hospital with a broken arm.
The earthquake’s epicenter was in the Mat-Su Borough, on Point MacKenzie to the north of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center. It violently shook the most populous region of the state at about 8:30 a.m., just as people were settling in to work and school, but was felt as far as Tok and Valdez.
Some people ducked under tables for cover. Others braced beneath doorways, riding out the seismic roller coaster amid the sound of breaking glass and falling photos.
Seismologists called the quake the most significant in the state’s largest city since the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, in terms of how strong the ground itself shook.
“What happened in Anchorage was an emotionally disturbing event, a lot of people were very scared,” state seismologist Michael West said.