Roads, Buildings Destroyed By Anchorage, Alaska, Earthquake

Road sign Anchorage and Fairbanks trees in background
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Alaska on Friday morning caused structural damage. Many buildings and roads in the city were badly cracked or totally destroyed by the quake, which struck with schools in session and many businesses open and running.

According to The Weather Channel, the U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit about 10 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska at 8:29 a.m. local time.

Hours later, Anchorage is unrecognizable in many areas. Twitter is flooded with images of collapsed roads, cracks in the walls of buildings, and other scenes of widespread damage.

“There is major infrastructure damage across Anchorage,” the Anchorage Police Department said in a statement. “Many homes and buildings are damaged. Many roads and bridges are closed.”

The Glenn Highway in Anchorage is closed due to a sinkhole that opened up next to the highway. Two other major highways are also closed, one due to a rockslide. The Alaska Railroad has also suspended all activity. There was severe damage at the Anchorage Operations Center, and the state of the track throughout Alaska is unknown at this time. In addition to being structurally damaged by the quake, the Operations Center also flooded.

The Alaska pipeline, an 800-mile-long means of transporting oil, has been shut down as a precaution. There is no known damage to the pipeline as of Friday evening, according to spokesperson Michelle Egan. However, the pipeline will be physically inspected before it is reopened.

The shaking was felt as far away as Fairbanks, more than 350 miles from Anchorage.

Around 300,000 people call Anchorage home.

Buildings in the city are splintered, and social media is flooded with images and videos taken live during the earthquake, according to CNN.

Anchorage can expect aftershocks in upcoming days and weeks. The U.S. Geological Survey has already reported dozens of aftershocks, and predicts more to follow. The largest was a 5.7 tremor that shook the city again. As of Friday evening, up to 10,000 people in Anchorage were without power.

Previous earthquakes have occurred in Alaska, including “the great M9.2 Alaska earthquake,” which occurred in 1964. This hit 75 miles east of Anchorage, and it is the most powerful recorded earthquake in U.S. history, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded.

Alaska is an active earthquake area. The state’s Earthquake Center says that a quake occurs in the state every 15 minutes, on average. There was an all-time high of earthquakes in Alaska in 2014, with 40,000 recorded for the year. This includes smaller earthquakes.