After feeling a strong 5.8 Earthquake Monday, witness says: All you can do at a time like that is “freeze” and say “please”
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – On Monday, December 3, 2012, a strong magnitude 5.8 or 5.9 (depending on the source of data) earthquake was felt over a 175-mile stretch of Alaska, including Anchorage — its largest city. While there were no immediate reports of damage, one eyewitness to the earth-shaking event told The Guardian Express in an email to the publisher: “‘feeling earthquakes’ probably also has something to do with the type of ground you are on, for example bedrock may not feel the same as a dirt covered swamp (much of Anchorage).”
Chad, the source of that comment resides in the city of Anchorage, Alaska. Only minutes following the 5.8 quake, Chad made the comment on our website as he characterized his experience: “That sure was a shaker!!! I live in a mobile home, and was scared I would fall off the blocking, but lucky for me, the earthquake-proofing I installed this last summer gave me some confidence, and held things in place well.”
He went on to say; “It was bad enough to knock over flashlights that were standing on end, and other things that had the potential to fall – such as a full can of peanuts at the edge of a counter-top. It lasted a good 30-45 seconds. All you can do at a time like that is “freeze” and say “please, do not get worse, please, stop” and try to use mind control to end it! haha!”
The quake hit at approximately 4:45 p.m. and was centered roughly 30 miles northwest of Anchorage.
Associated Press reported that geophysicist Guy Urban stated that “the quake wasn’t expected to generate a tsunami.”
“Anchorage police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker, who felt the quake at his home in Wasilla, about 45 miles north of Anchorage. ‘Just a little shaker-upper,'” Associated Press reported him saying.
In an email sent to The Guardian Publisher, Chad added to his earlier comments “the vibration I mentioned was “stressful”, eg if I laid on the hard floor with my bones against the surface, with pilings attached to I-beams beneath, so that I am feeling the vibrations at night, they would create a stress in me, as if I was going to have a heart attack, and I would have to pace around and get away from that vibration (by doing anything other than laying on the hard floor) in order to feel better.
“You could also see it in a glass of water – you could see the slight ripples in water from the vibration. It was subtle, but definite. At times, I would get on my hands and knees, and try to ascertain if it was real or not, and it was definitely real, but subtle. Not overtly obvious, and probably not noticeably by anyone else because it probably requires concrete/steel pilings affixed to a hard surface to lay your whole body against.
He compared today’s quake to the Nov. 2002 seismic event: “[It] did knock my neighbors workshop trailer (full size mobile home used for remote construction sites, eg, 50-60ft x 12ft) off of it’s railroad-tie blocking. I can’t say that there was a “news blackout” about it, but obviously, I did the casual listening to the TV and radio news to hear about it, and never heard a thing about it, and I did question about a dozen people about it over the following days, and nobody knew anything about it. I can’t explain that!”
In the last 30 days seismologist have recorded a total of 3,950 earthquakes worldwide. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 1,265 of these seismic events occurred in or around the state of Alaska.
Another earthquake report taken from the USGS’s website indicates a total of 652 magnitude 4.0 or higher have been detected by seismologist over the last 30 days. Alaska accounted for eleven of those quakes.
Beyond the very minor damage of items being knocked off shelves, there were no reports of building collapses or major structural damage.
Alaska is seismically active and has frequent earthquakes, although most are too small or too remote to be felt.
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.
Our correspondence with Chad, an eyewitness to Monday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake, did get a bit away from our primary subject. Nevertheless, we thought the conversation was worth including in this report, because if you believe our source, Anchorage Alaska quakes more ways than seismically.
Chad seemed to be a concerned citizen when he told us that “Alaska has a lot of power and money in the hands of a very few people, and it is extremely corrupt in that regard. Most people have the intellect of Arkansas, and 75% work for government in one form or another.
It can get very cold (-40), but we are having less snow than normal this year, a lot less than normal.
Alaska is very conservative/libertarian, you won’t find liberals in office or many around town.
Alaska has changed a lot in the last 30 years, and a lot of immigrants have been placed in Alaska, which has changed its former character of self-sufficiency to a “gimme” state in large part. Less so in the smaller towns and villages.
The natives have the highest STD rates in the world, but are generally well funded by corporations and free health care (in exchange for their oil and lands). That’s a fairly general and accurate description of the people and environment. Police/Troopers will kill you without a 2nd thought, so it’s best not to mess with them in a dangerous manner, and we have no Sheriffs.”
So my read, if I understand Chad correctly, is that today’s quake is arguably only one of a number of problematic circumstances residents face in one of the coldest states in America. Earthquakes are a matter of scientific mystery, but there seemed to be nothing mysterious about the alleged social-economic and political rumblings that Chad claims are transforming the state of Alaska.
We will continue to update this story as soon as we receive the news.
D. Chandler contributed to this report