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Woman knocked out of bed by Alaska quake, according to emergency official

Alex DeMarban

Wednesday's earthquake centered in Anchorage wasn't strong, but it rattled a few things to the floor, including at least one sleeping woman.

"We got a call from one lady who said she had fallen out of bed and was wondering what was going on," said Jeremy Zidek, spokesman with the state division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "We informed her there was an earthquake and she seemed to be happy with that answer."

The 4.6-magnitude temblor at 7:03 a.m. was a run-of-the-mill earthquake, the kind that happens a couple times a week somewhere in Alaska as the Pacific Tectonic Plate grinds under the North American plate, said Natasha Rupert, seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.

But it was a rude awakening for a lot of Anchorage residents, who grabbed kids, hustled under doorways or watched shelves shake in a rare moment of collective vulnerability.

Alaska might get a lot of these 4-magnitude shakers, but they've struck Anchorage only eight times in the last 10 years. The last time one this big occurred within a 20-mile radius of downtown was Sept. 20, 2010, when a 4.9 struck.

The last time Anchorage reached the 5's? That was in 2002, a 5.1.  

Why'd it feel so strong? Because it was centered eight miles south of downtown and 37 miles deep, so close to Anchorage residents felt the jolting primary wave along with the jostling of the secondary waves. Farther away, the so-called short-sharp wave, which diminishes faster than those side-to-side waves, wouldn't have been noticeable.   

"When you are farther you don't really feel the primary wave. It just dies out," she said. 

Here's what Alaska Dispatch readers had to say about the 7:03 a.m. quake on Facebook:

Felt a quick jolt in Sterling... nothing major.

Strong wake up call in Wasilla.

Got rattled by King's Lake.

I'm here in Anchorage....Muldoon/Tudor area. Rattled my house...definitely way more than others. Scared the crap outta me....

Woke us all up on JBER! No damage, though.

• Wow Anchorage, Talkeetna to Sutton. No damage in Sutton at this point.

• At first I thought the cat jumped on the large bookcase right by my desk, then I thought a car hit the building. And then it was over.

• Rockin' & rolling in my Trailer in Spenard!!!!

• Heard of things falling off a mantle...

• Very strong shaking up here in Bear Valley. Felt like it lasted 5 secs or longer. Agree, this one felt stronger than usual.

• We heard it before it hit! Pictures fell and hopefully that it the extent of the damage.

• Heard a roar coming and then the biggest jolt I have ever felt myself. For just a 4.7 I KNOW it must have been centered more closer to us then the normal. We live in Chugach Foothills area.

Read more comments from Dispatch readers on Facebook

Contact Alex DeMarban at alex(at)alaskadispatch.com

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