Sensor monitor reading at University of Alaska
Interior Alaskans felt the Earth move a bit on Tuesday morning. It wasn’t a big earthquake, at only magnitude 4.6, but it was widely felt at 7:18am. It’s note worthy, mainly because it has been a couple of years since I felt one pass through.
On Sunday morning, Kaktovik, which is located on the Beaufort Sea coast, woke up to a 6.4 magnitude quake. It was the largest earthquake ever recorded on Alaska’s North Slope.
Earthquakes in Alaska are far from unusual. An earthquake is detected once every 15 minutes, on average, within the state. In 2014, Alaska set a record with over 40,000 shakes. Over the past five years, the Alaska Earthquake Center has reported over 150,000 earthquakes. Of those, 31 had a magnitude over 6.0. and four went over 7.0. Seventy-five percent of all earthquakes over 5.0 within the United States happen in Alaska.
The 7.9 magnitude quake, that hit us in 2002 when the Denali Fault ruptured, is the largest I have experience. The 1964 Good Friday Earthquake was a magnitude 9.2, and it is still the second largest earthquake ever recorded anywhere on the globe.
Graph and stats credit: Alaska Earthquake Center
The global graph shows temperatures around the world as they happened on Thursday and compare them against average. Look at that bright red glow across the NW Territories, The Yukon and Northern Alaska.
We’re back to the heat here in Alaska. It’s been over a week of lighting a fire in the wood stove before I go to bed, and letting it go out over night. Then the next night, starting a fire again, and repeating the process. The cold snap on the eastern seaboard of the United States is a long ways from Interior Alaska.
Anchorage has been forced to give up the Iditarod Dog Sled Race to Fairbanks, due to absolutely no snow on the southern route to Nome. No doubt Anchorage is seething at this, but race officials could not repeat the disaster of 2014.
The Open North American Sled Dog Race had to reroute out of downtown Fairbanks due to the Noyes Slough ice being unsafe.
Now, a Plan C is being considered for the Iditarod, because the Chena River ice is quickly becoming thin in this heat wave. The race was to be run from the Chena River in Fairbanks to the Tanana River and then onward to Nome, but now an overland route to the Tanana is being considered.
I received a text today from New York State, asking about frozen pipes and how deep water lines run in Fairbanks to avoid the frost line. As I respond from Interior Alaska, I’m dressed in tennis shoes and a light fleece jacket, and I couldn’t help but notice that I’m standing in the open water of a puddle in a parking lot.
If it wasn’t for the two weeks of -40 & -50, the tripod down in Nenana would be toppling in record time.
Get that bug dope out.
Graphic comes courtesy of the University of Maine