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Earthquake rattles Southcentral Alaska Tuesday evening

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit south of Mount Iliamna around 6:35 p.m. Tuesday rattled Alaska from Kodiak to Fairbanks, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center.

The quake struck roughly 70 miles below the Earth's surface across Cook Inlet from Homer, said Michael West, a seismologist at the Alaska Earthquake Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The epicenter was about 144 miles southwest of Anchorage.

"It's deep -- that's important," he said. "That means the shaking was not as strong, but spread widely."

Linda Hull of Clam Gulch, about 65 miles away from the earthquake's epicenter, said she heard a very low rumble before a slow rolling motion started. That lasted for several seconds before she felt a jolt.

"Pictures didn't fall off the walls, but they are all crooked," she said after the quake. Glass figurines fell off her shelves, but didn't break. "Light fixtures were still swaying for about three minutes after the shock hit," she said.

West said the Alaska Earthquake Center has recorded hundreds of earthquakes in lower Cook Inlet so far this year, but Tuesday's was the largest.

"This earthquake is in no way a surprise," he said. "It's absolutely the kind of earthquake that we expect in this area."

The Alaska Earthquake Center did not receive any reports of damage, he said. Tuesday's earthquake was just slightly larger than the 6.2-magnitude quake that hit in September 2014 about 60 miles southwest of Talkeetna.

Janice Krukoff of Anchorage said she was sitting in a recliner Tuesday evening waiting for her dinner to warm up when she heard a "real low sound." She had heard it before and knew it meant shaking would follow.

The tall fan in front of her began to wobble. Time seemed to slow down.

She said she has felt many earthquakes before. The center of the one Tuesday was roughly 144 miles southwest of Anchorage.

"They say you get used to it, but you don't," she said. "You don't take nature for granted."

The National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer reported Tuesday that the earthquake was not expected to cause a tsunami.

Kenai Police Sgt. Jay Sjogren said there had been no emergency calls about the earthquake in that city.

Sjogren said he was at the counter of a gas station when the earthquake struck. "It was a good jolt and the sign started swaying," he said. The street light was swaying as well, he said. "It was just a little bit of excitement for everybody."

But Craig Augustynovich, manager of the Rainbow King Lodge in Iliamna, said he was surprised to learn that there was an earthquake. "I didn't feel it," he said.

West said the Alaska Earthquake Center struggles with putting a duration on just how long earthquakes shake the state.

"Because in reality, this earthquake was over and done with in a couple of seconds as far as the actual fault rupturing," he said. "What you felt were the actual vibrations bouncing around and around and around and around kind of like if you yell in a gymnasium and you hear the sound of the echo."

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