No tsunami warning issued following magnitude 5.4 earthquake near Homer
Updated at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 20.
Kenai Peninsula Borough officials say no damage was reported in the region following a magnitude 5.4 earthquake early Sunday morning.
“Since it was pretty close to us here in Homer, Seldovia and Anchor Point, there was a good amount of shaking that certainly woke people up and might have rattled some stuff off the shelves,” said earthquake seismologist Kasey Aderhold.
According to the National Tsunami Warning Center, the quake hit at 7:06 a.m. at a depth of 41 miles. As of Monday, there were more than 1,200 “felt reports” on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website.
Aderhold said the earthquake was too deep to trigger a tsunami.
“It was a good amount of shaking, because it was so close to us here in Homer, but it was further down into the slab — that’s the Pacific Plate slab that’s subducting beneath us,” she said. “You're only going to get tsunamis if you're displacing water — displacing the ocean above you. So in this case, the earthquake was way down under us, under that layer of ocean, under quite a lot of ground. So the rupture for this earthquake at a 5.4 is not rupturing all the way up into that water column.”
Brenda Ahlberg, emergency manager for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, said no damage was reported from Sunday’s earthquake. But, she said, during large quakes, get to higher ground if you live along the coastline.
“Communities such as Port Graham, Nanwalek and Seldovia in the Kachemak Bay area, including Homer and the Fox River communities at Kachemak Selo — those communities are coastal communities that are in the inundation zone for potential tsunami,” Ahlberg said.
Best practice for tsunami evacuation is to follow the blue and white road signs to get to higher ground, she added, especially if it’s difficult to stand during the shake.
Earthquakes can be unpredictable, and Aderhold said it’s important to keep safety plans up-to-date and to communicate those plans with loved ones.
“We live on a very active fault zone,” she said. “So make sure you update your safety plans, make sure you’ve touched base with your family and friends, and make sure they’ve updated theirs, and make sure you’re ready for when a big one happens.”
The borough is currently working on replacing all of its emergency sirens in the Kachemak and Resurrection Bay communities. Ahlberg said the goal is to have the new sirens switched out this summer and add two additional locations — one within Homer city limits and one near the Anchor River.
For more information on the borough’s disaster preparedness, visit info.kpb.us.