A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Friday morning near Anchorage, Alaska, causing widespread damage, and alarming office workers who plunged under their desks.
Light fixtures fell, glass shattered, roadways and supermarket aisles were awash from food spilled from broken jars. Video images showed some roadways had collapsed. One man tweeted a photo of his toppled chimney and a local television station showed its studio filled with debris.
Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted, saying her family is intact but her “house is not.”
“This is a large earthquake, and there have been numerous aftershocks,” said John Bellini, a geophysicist for the U.S. Geological Survey. He said the largest aftershock was a 5.7 magnitude quake about six minutes after the big one.
The quake struck at 8:29 a.m. local time about 7 miles north of Anchorage, the USGS reported. Officials canceled a tsunami warning for coastal areas of southern Alaska.
“The bed started shaking, and everything was shaking so dramatically,” Blair Braverman told CNN. “People were running down the halls and banging on the doors to evacuate.”
Gov. Bill Walker said he had issued a disaster declaration. Besides widespread damage, the earthquake disrupted some communications and electrical service, the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport closed for damage assessment, but was gradually being reopened. As a precaution, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, which runs 800 miles, was shut.
The Anchorage School District canceled classes for its more than 100 schools and asked parents to pick up their kids when they could.