Alaska’s North Slope was hit Sunday by the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the region, the state’s seismologist said.
At 6:58 a.m. Sunday, the magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck an area 42 miles east of Kavik River Camp and 343 miles northeast of Fairbanks, the state’s second-biggest city. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a depth of about 6 miles.
The previous most-powerful quake in the North Slope was in 1995 at magnitude 5.2, state seismologist Mike West said.
The jump from a 5.2 to Sunday’s 6.4 is significant because earthquakes rapidly grow in strength as magnitude rises, he said. A magnitude-6.4 earthquake is 15.8 times bigger and 63.1 times stronger than a 5.2 earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Later Sunday, another magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit at 1:15 p.m. near the city of Kaktovik on Alaska’s North Slope, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The epicenter was southwest of Kaktovik, which has about 290 people.
The Anchorage Daily News said that Alyeska Pipeline said the earthquake did not damage the trans-Alaska pipeline. The company said in a tweet that “there are no operational concerns” related to the earthquake, but the pipeline will be inspected.
Several aftershocks were reported across northern Alaska.
— Associated Press
Wildfires rage on in California: The Holy Fire in California was 41 percent contained Sunday afternoon after burning across 35.5 square miles, said Lynne Tolmachoff of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The largest fire ever recorded in the state — the Mendocino Complex Fire — was nearly 70 percent contained Saturday. Updated containment figures were not immediately available Sunday. The two-week-old Carr Fire, which killed eight people, was more than 50 percent contained Saturday.
Whale ends mourning over calf: Researchers say an endangered killer whale that drew international attention as she carried her dead calf on her head for more than two weeks is finally back to feeding and frolicking with her pod. The Center for Whale Research in Washington state said it watched the orca, known as J35, chase a school of salmon in Haro Strait west of San Juan Island on Saturday. The whales have been struggling because of a lack of salmon, and J35's calf died soon after birth on July 24. The mother carried the baby on her head for at least 17 days, in an image of grief that struck an emotional chord. She finally abandoned the carcass as it decomposed.
— From news services