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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Severe geological activity rattling Alaska

Alaska has been rocked over the past three days by intense earthquake activity. A 7.0 Richter-scale event struck 67 miles off the sparsely-populated Aleutian Island chain Friday morning, with the village of Adak taking the brunt of the shaking. Dozens of after-shocks - of varying intensities - soon followed, including a powerful 6.1. There were no reports of injury or damage.

Seismic activity for the last 72 hours, via
Alaska Earthquake Information Center.
The entire state has always been prone to intense seismic activity (the 9.2 catastrophe in 1964 being one extreme example), and over the last month said-activity has been exceeding normal standards. The bulk of these quakes has been focused on a curved line, starting at the far west end of the Aleutians and moving east then north through the center of the state. In the last 72 hours alone 429 measurable earth-shakers have been recorded.

In that 1964 quake 131 people were killed, and $2.22 billion (adjusted to today's scale) in property damage occurred. Of those deaths only nine were killed by the earthquake itself, with the rest perishing from the massive tsunami which followed, a wave so powerful it killed 16 people as far away as California and Oregon. While this latest event did not produce a tsunami, scientists intend to remain on high alert until seismic activity in the region wanes.

FOLLOW-UP: In a story from August 13th I discussed minor swarms of earthquakes shaking up geologic hot-spots across the globe, including California, the Mediterranean, Western South America, as well as Alaska. Aside from South America (which appears to have calmed somewhat), these regions not only remain active, but said-activity appears to be intensifying; the volume of recorded earthquakes has also increased in eastern Asia and Indonesia.

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