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Old 11-03-2002, 10:52 PM
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Default Article: Major Quake (11/3/02)

Major Quake Rocks Remote Alaska, Pipeline Shut
22 minutes ago By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A major earthquake (news - web sites) of 7.9 magnitude rocked a sparsely populated area of central Alaska on Sunday, causing some damage to roads but no deaths, the U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites) and state troopers said.

USGS (news - web sites) spokeswoman Carolyn Bell said the epicenter of the quake was near the Denali National Park, 75 miles south of Fairbanks and about 175 miles northeast of Anchorage. It occurred just after 1 p.m. (5:00 p.m. EST).

State troopers said the only known casualty related to the quake was a 76-year-old woman who broke her arm when she fell while fleeing her house in the village of Mentasta Lake.

They said three major highways had been damaged, including the George Parks Highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks which was rent by a three-foot wide crack.

The trans-Alaska oil pipeline was shut down after the earthquake, but no damage was detected to the 800-mile line, Anchorage television station KTUU reported.

Police in Anchorage and Fairbanks said there had been no reports of damage in the cities, although the quake had been felt strongly in both places.

The Perch Resort, a lodge and restaurant near Denali National Park, lost its entire inventory of wine when the quake smashed all the bottles, said owner Leslie LeQuire.

About a dozen customers were eating in the restaurant at the time. "The customers who were here were so awesome, they all stayed to help clean up," she said.

Paul Whitmore, a geophysicist at the West Coast Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, near Anchorage, said the quake "almost knocked me off my feet."

"I ran out to the car and it was hard to stand up. That's the first earthquake I ever felt outside. That's pretty unusual. We were a long way from the epicenter," he said.

Whitmore said there had been several aftershocks.

"Sometimes we see that after big earthquakes (news - web sites) the seismicity in the whole region may tick up. This is a good case for people to review their safety plans, make sure their bookcases are attached to the walls and so forth. It's really a good wake up call," he said.

A tremor of 6.7 magnitude hit the same area on Oct. 23.
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