Strong Quake Jolts Anchorage, Alaska

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A strong earthquake jolted Anchorage, Alaska, on Monday, sending people diving under desks and huddling in doorways but apparently causing no damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 struck about 24 miles from the town of Willow at 11:28 a.m. The epicenter was 58 miles from the state's largest city, Anchorage, where the rumbling continued for several moments.

"Things were swinging pretty good and shaking, like pictures on the wall, bottles rattling - and my blood pressure went up at least 20 points," said Pam Rannals, a bartender in Talkeetna, about 30 miles from the epicenter. "We had bears in the parking lot last night and now the earthquake. Those are the talk of the town."

She said she hadn't heard of any damage and even the liquor bottles stayed put. There also were no immediate reports of damage or injury anywhere else, but the shaking was felt over a wide swath of southcentral Alaska, the most populated region of the vast state.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center reported the magnitude at a slightly weaker 5.3 and said no tsunami was generated.

Aftershocks were shaking the area, with one about a half-hour later measuring 4.0.

Alaska is seismically active, and has frequent earthquakes. The last one that measured stronger was a 5.8 in southern Alaska on Jan. 24.
     
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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