The largest earthquake in the United States in the last half century produced a lot of shaking but spared Alaska any major damage in a sparsely populated region, officials said Thursday. The magnitude 8.2 earthquake was reported about 10:15pm Wednesday, and it struck just south of the Alaska Peninsula, nearly 500 miles southwest of Anchorage, the AP reports. The quake was about 60 miles offshore and 29 miles below the surface of the North Pacific Ocean, according to the US Geological Survey. The Alaska Earthquake Center said on its website that it was the largest quake in the US since a magnitude 8.7 quake in the Aleutians in 1965. A year before that, the magnitude 9.2 Good Friday earthquake devastated parts of Anchorage and other Alaska communities. That quake and ensuing tsunami killed 131 people from Alaska to California.
The late Wednesday quake produced a lot of shaking. But the director of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said Thursday no major damage was reported anywhere in the nation’s largest state. “You could imagine if that earthquake happened in Anchorage or in Los Angeles the damage that would have occurred and the loss of life and injury and property damage and all of that. But so far, so good,” said the director, Bryan Fisher. “I was really assuming the worst, that there was going to be widespread catastrophic damage,” he said. But as calls were made to coastal communities while they were evacuating during the tsunami warning, the calls were able to go through, a good initial sign. And local officials reported they didn’t see any structural or significant damage. Fisher called it "a miracle." (More here.)