One Alaska earthquake caused cell phone and internet services to stop working in Southeast Alaska, and a separate and unrelated earthquake near Kodiak was called “unusual” on Friday.
According to KTOO, a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck southeast Alaska shortly before 3 am. The earthquake originated about 97 miles west of Juneau about 6 miles beneath the surface.
The earthquake left cell phone and internet service customers in the southeastern part of Alaska without service for nearly 24 hours. An Alaska Communications Facebook post stated that the outage happened because of a break in an underwater fiber optic line. The post stated that the repairs could take several days, but the post has since been deleted.
“Our teams are looking at the root cause right now and will provide an update when we have some more information,” ACS spokesperson Hannah Blankenship stated. “As far as how long we expect to be down, this our highest priority and we’re working to restore service as quickly as possible.”
According to Alaska Dispatch News, other companies use ACS’ network, but Blankenship would not comment on which companies were included in the outage or how many people were affected by it.
One resident of the outage-affected part of Alaska said that it was especially hard on businesses in the southeastern part of Alaska.
The resident, Johnny Rice, told Alaska Dispatch News, “There are vendors here who are out of business, they’ve shut the doors and sent everybody home because their point-of-sale system is down.”
Telecommunications began to be restored shortly before midnight for Southeast customers.
A completely unrelated Alaska earthquake was felt in Kodiak, according to The Associated Press. A magnitude 3.9 earthquake left no reports of damage in that area.
Alaska Earthquake Center seismologist Natasha Ruppert reportedly said that unrelated earthquakes strong enough to be felt in separate parts of Alaska are unusual.
Alaska felt several aftershocks on Friday. The earthquake near Juneau was preceded by a foreshock, registering as a magnitude 5.3 earthquake. Many aftershocks followed, including an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6.
The Alaska earthquake near Juneau and the one in Kodiak did not trigger a tsunami, and none were expected.