I am at work today near the end of the day in a … well, it wasn’t a heated discussion, but it was at least luke warm. The conversation was nearly wrapped up, but we were still pretty focused on the top. The topic wasn’t earthshaking, but that didn’t stop the earth from shaking. Over the next few seconds, we held steady when the floor below us did what felt like the opposite.
At 4:45pm today, a 5.7 Magnitude earthquake hit our city. The epicenter was located 25 miles from downtown Anchorage and 30 miles below the surface.
When it began, it felt like a little shudder. I got a bit excited, because I’m still new to earthquakes. My blood started racing pretty quick, and I noted “It’s a quake” right away (both in my head and outloud). I was on the 8th Floor of the BP tower, and pretty quickly you could feel the building start to sway as an anti-quake measure — the building is on rollers to counteract the shakes. But after the first shake, there seemed to be a harder tug. The co-worker said smartly, “I think we should move closer to the core of the building.” By the time we reached the core (which wasn’t more than 20 ft away) the shaking stopped. The building swayed for another 15-20 seconds (I guess that’s expected) from the anti-quake rollers, but we all were buzzed with the knowledge that something just happened. There was no damage, no report of damage, and all were safe from best we know.
This was my 3rd quake that I “Felt”. The first was back in 2005 when I was Los Angeles sitting in a hotel room, and that while a 4.0-ish was a single wave that seemed to be a jolt over before I knew what it was. While I was in an earthquake in August here in Anchorage that was a 5.2 quake, it was centered over a 100 miles away. This was stronger and practically on our doorstep. This was definitely the longest and most unsettling that I have been in.
Thing is, I wasn’t the only one that was saying that. Alaska is the site of the biggest earthquake recorded in North America – a magnitude-9.2 quake on Good Friday 1964 that struck 75 miles east of Anchorage on Prince William Sound. The quake and the ensuing tsunami killed 115 people in Alaska and 16 people in California. About a minute after the quake, security gave an announcement for the all clear — and someone said “I’ve worked here for years and I have never heard that announcement.” I talked to the guy who will be babysitting Auggie this week, who has lived here his whole life and said it was the strongest he has ever felt.
And that luke warm discussion? It was basically over.