5.2 earthquake jolts Southcentral Alaska

MAGNITUDE 5.2: Temblor near Kenai causes no serious damage.

June 16, 2011 

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake shook Southcentral Alaska just after 11 a.m. Thursday, according to earthquake agencies in Palmer and Fairbanks.

People felt it all over the Kenai Peninsula, in Anchorage and in the Mat-Su. There was one report from Fairbanks, though Natasha Ruppert, a seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Information Center in Fairbanks, doubted it was felt in her city.

No one reported structural damage, but in some places items fell off shelves, Ruppert said.

The jolt was strongest on the Kenai Peninsula. The epicenter was 16 miles north- northeast of Kenai, she said. It was 36 miles deep. If it had been shallower, it could have done real damage, she said.

"It was felt by everybody but people were still able to stand on their feet. It didn't knock them down," Ruppert said.

Social media sites lit up instantly. People checked in on Facebook and Twitter from all over Southcentral.

"Felt it in Soldotna! Kitties went nutz!" one poster said. Across Cook Inlet in Pedro Bay, someone reported a shaking computer monitor.

In South Anchorage, Hazel Freytag, 20, was sleeping.

"I'm in the Jewel Lake area and all I have to say is its a super creepy feeling when you wake up cause your bed is shaking," she wrote on Facebook.

Her sister and two dogs didn't seem to notice anything, but the whole house shook, she said in a follow-up message.

Candie Graham of Palmer was standing in her kitchen canning salmon when she heard it coming.

"Kind of sounded like a loud rumbling truck coming up our hill then it hit and kind of drug on a bit," she said in a Facebook message.

At the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, the quake materialized as "a nice, long shaking," said Cindi Preller, tsunami program manager for Alaska. In East Anchorage, people felt a hard jolt.

"Which means you felt the P wave and we felt the S wave," she said, contrasting the initial, first wave compression wave that struck Anchorage with the vertical, rolling wave felt in the Valley.

And in seconds, it was over and people went back about their lives.

Reach Lisa Demer at ldemer@adn.com or 257-4390.

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