Strong natural disaster awakens Southeast Alaska, knocks out power in Whitehorse

Janie Parker
May 3, 2017

Two strong earthquakes with preliminary magnitudes of 6.3 and 6.2 have struck British Columbia, centered near the Canadian city of Whitehorse and the border with the USA state of Alaska. At a magnitude of 6.2, the temblor hit northwest of Mosquito Lake, a hamlet with a population of about 300.

Earthquakes over a magnitude of six can cause damage to buildings, even well-built ones, but the shocks appear to have resulted only in minor damage. There were no reports of injuries.

The new tremor was registered at 14:18 GMT 84 kilometers (over 52 miles) northwest of USA city of Skagway.

Natural Resource Canada says a quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale was centred about 77 kilometres northwest of Skagway, Alaska and 127 kilometres southwest of Whitehorse.

The second quake struck slightly deeper, about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) below the surface, according to seismologists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

"We were shaken violently out of bed", Stanford said.

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Earlier in the day, the area was hit by a 6.2-magnitude quake.

The first quake knocked out the entire substation at the Whitehorse Rapids Dam, she said. Fortunately, the region is not densely populated as the nearest city, Whitehorse, Canada (Pop: 23,000), is 150 km away.

The quake was followed by a series of smaller aftershocks with the strongest registering 5.2, according to the agency.

The geological survey website has recorded hundreds of reports of people feeling the shaking.

The earthquakes, though large in size, were not directly near any structures, and no tsunami warning has been issued.

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