Magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits near Kaktovik
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck approximately 40 miles southwest of Kaktovik just before 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center.
And an aftershock rumbled in just after 1:00 p.m. at a 6.0 magnitude, measuring in at the second largest earthquake ever recorded on the North Slope.
The original earthquake registered at a depth of 9.9 kilometers, just over six miles.
"There was no impact to TAPS operations and there are no operational concerns following this morning's earthquake near the North Slope," wrote officials with the Alyeska Pipeline on Twitter. "Per Alyeska protocol, there will be inspections of the pipeline and facilities along the northern segment of TAPS."
State Seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Center Michael West says the effects were felt widely throughout the North Slope and Eastern Brooks Range region. He says earthquakes in this region are not uncommon, but are typically significantly smaller in magnitude.
"We have no historical evidence of a comparable earthquake in this area," West said.
According to the United States Geologic Survey, since 1975 there have been five earthquakes recorded over 5.0 magnitude, including a 5.5 magnitude in 2003.
West says aftershocks will continue to be felt in the area for the foreseeable future.
"Science-wise, this is a really intriguing event," West said. "This earthquake will certainly cause people to re-evaluate what the seismic potential of Eastern Brooks Range and that general vicinity is."
Amanda Kaleak, lifetime resident of Kaktovic, says she has never experienced an earthquake like this.
"I was walking and had to hold on to the wall because my house was swaying," Kaleak said. "I'm kind of freaked out. I'm kind of wondering if it's going to keep on happening all day, because we've had I think over 30 just right near us, and I felt a handful of the aftershocks. I've lived here all my life and I haven't felt anything that big."
Sean Maguire contributed to the reporting of this story.