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Giant 7.0 earthquake rocks Anchorage, Alaska; damage reported even at Sarah Palin’s house

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Giant 7.0 earthquake rocks Anchorage, Alaska; damage reported even at Sarah Palin’s house


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A home security camera captured the moment a major earthquake shook a family in Palmer, Alaska. The quake struck at 8:29 am local time about seven miles north of Anchorage.
USA TODAY

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Friday morning near Anchorage, Alaska, causing widespread damage, and alarming office workers who plunged under their desks.

Light fixtures fell, glass shattered, roadways collapsed and supermarket aisles were littered with fallen boxes, cans and jars. Video images showed some roadways had collapsed.  One man tweeted a photo of his toppled chimney and a local television station showed its studio filled with debris.

Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted, saying her family is intact but her “house is not.”  

“This is a large earthquake, and there have been numerous aftershocks,” said John Bellini, a geophysicist for the U.S. Geological Survey. He said the largest aftershock was a 5.7 magnitude quake about six minutes after the big one.

The quake struck at 8:29 a.m. local time about 7 miles north of Anchorage, the USGS reported. Officials canceled a tsunami warning for coastal areas of southern Alaska.

“The bed started shaking, and everything was shaking so dramatically,” Blair Braverman told CNN. “People were running down the halls and banging on the doors to evacuate.”

Gov. Bill Walker said he had issued a disaster declaration. Besides widespread damage, the earthquake disrupted some communications and electrical service, the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said.

Jenni Hotch-Hill, 38, was at work at a hotel in midtown Anchorage when she felt the violent rumble.

“I could see the chandeliers swaying. The lobby fountain was spraying onto the ground. Some people were grabbing onto each other and running outside crying,” the Alaska native said. 

The elevators at the hotel stopped running. She immediately left work to check on her family. The “typical one hour commute took three,” she said, because stoplights were out and roads and bridges were damaged.

“Normally when I feel an earthquake the ground moves like a wave and it feels somewhat predictable. This time it felt like the ground was being punched from under me.”

Brenekia Horne of Muldoon, a major neighborhood on the east side of Anchorage, said she thought the end had come.

“Death instantly crossed my mind and I started praying,” said Horne, 24. She said she was dropping her son off at daycare when the earthquake occurred. “I was having a conversation with my son’s babysitter when it hit, midconversation. At first, I froze. The house started shaking, all the decorations fell off the wall and the TV tipped over.” 

She said the daycare worker along with up to 10 kids scurried upstairs to wait out the quake. “The kids took it better than we did. They were just confused about what was happening,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about it all day since. I just can’t shake it.”

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport closed for damage assessment, but was gradually being reopened. As a precaution, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which runs 800 miles, was shut.

The Anchorage School District canceled classes for its more than 100 schools and asked parents to pick up their kids when they could.

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President Donald Trump, who was briefed on the earthquake, tweeted that the federal government would “spare no expense” in helping Alaska through the quake’s aftermath.

Alaska averages 40,000 earthquakes a year, with more large quakes than the other 49 states combined.

Anchorage has been hit hard before. A 1964 earthquake that registered 9.2, the largest ever in the U.S. and the second largest ever recorded, caused extensive damage to the city and resulted in 129 deaths.

Corey Hester, the Executive Director of the Alaska Airmen Association, was awaken out of his sleep by the rumbling.

“The bedframe in both of my bedrooms started jolting against the walls pretty violent and aggressively,” Hester said. After fumbling around to find his eyeglasses he grabbed a flashlight and surveyed the damage in his second-floor apartment.

“There was minor structural damage to the sheetrock in the living room. Right up the road there’s a street with a pretty decent split it. Now, it serves as the resident speed bump, I suppose,” Hester said.

Hester took to Facebook to share video of the carnage in his apartment. Shelves in the kitchen slid out of place, groceries fell out of the cupboard and picture frames fell off the shelves.

One of the aftershocks hits midway through the 37-second clip causing pots and pans to rattle as a leather chair in the living room pulses up  and down on the hardwood floors. The video has garnered over 37,000 views within 5 hours.

“The aftershocks were stronger than any of the other earthquakes I’ve experienced here in Alaska,” Hester said.

 

Contributing: The Associated Press

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/11/30/earthquake-strikes-near-anchorage-tsunami-warning-issued/2163178002/

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