5.4 quake shakes Anchorage; damage appears light

06/22/2009 3:19 PM

06/22/2009 3:31 PM

A 5.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Southcentral Alaska at 11:28 a.m. today, according to the Alaska Earthquake Information Center. The epicenter was 33 miles southwest of Talkeetna.

The quake was followed by several aftershocks, including one at 11:57 a.m. with a preliminary magnitude of 4.2.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

"The most reported was some objects moved around a shelf in Wasilla," said Paul Whitmore, director of the West Coast Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.

A dispatcher at the Alaska State Troopers post in Talkeetna said they'd received no reports of damage

Ola Williams, who runs the Alaska Dream Espresso stand in Willow at the corner of the Parks Highway and Willow-Fishhook Road, was about as near the epicenter of the quake as it gets. She was in the middle of making an iced americano when the earthquake hit.

"I was right up front, starting to make a drink for a customer. There was a big noise (like a freight train). They said, 'Well, what's that?' I told him we're have an earthquake. Then it really started shaking," she said.

Williams said she had no idea how long the earthquake went on. Her syrup bottles did a little tap dance on the shelf and a box of ice cream cones tumbled off the top of the refrigerator, but that was the extent of the damage.

The reported magnitude of the earthquake has altered slightly since it was first felt, which is standard, Whitmore said.

"Within that first half hour, they do tend to jump around because there are different agencies reporting on different data sets," he said.

South central Alaska usually gets one or two earthquakes this size a year, he said.

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