Sunday, January 24, 2016

7.1 Magnitude Quake Hits Alaska, Mexico's Popocatepetl Evacuation Alert As Volcano Begins Spewing Toxic Gas

7.1-magnitude earthquake hits southern Alaska

The earthquake struck about 1:30 a.m. Alaska time and was centered 53 miles west of Anchor Point and 160 miles southwest of Anchorage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In its initial report, the agency had classified the earthquake as a magnitude-7.1 event.
The earthquake was widely felt by residents of Anchorage, and there are reports of scattered power outages from the Matanuska Electric Association and Chugach Electric in the Anchorage area. But the Anchorage and Valdez police departments say they have not received any reports of injury or significant damage.
Anchorage resident Ron Barta says his house shook about 1:34 a.m. when the earthquake hit. Barta, 55, says the pictures on the walls started moving, but there was no damage to his house and no one was hurt.
“I was sitting here with the dogs getting ready to go to bed about 1:34 local time. … I felt a little rumble that didn’t quit for about 30 to 45 seconds. It felt like the house moved,” said Barta, who is married to an Associated Press reporter.
The KSRM (Radio Kenai) radio station in the Kenai peninsula reported that about 2:30 a.m. the Kenai Fire Department was on the scene of a gas leak and explosion at a home. Fire departments in Kenai, Anchorage and other communities were getting calls about the quake.
The violent shaking woke up Associated Press reporter Mark Thiessen, who had been asleep for about two hours when then quake struck.
“I remember the bed swaying back and forth, and loud noises, enough to wake me up even after taking sleeping pills,” said Thiessen, 53. “My husband came into the bedroom forcefully saying, ‘Get up! Get up!’ “ he said. “But I was already awake, trying to figure out what was happening.”
Barta, who has lived in Anchorage for about 10 years, says Alaskans on social media say the earthquake woke them up.
People were saying on social media that the earthquake “was the biggest I ever felt as long as I have lived here,” Barta said.
One Twitter user wrote: “Everyone in Anchorage is awake and on Twitter right? Biggest longest #earthquake of my entire life. Family is all hanging in our bed now.”

Thousands of people living near the Popocatepetl volcano in the states of Puebla and Morelos have been put on evacuation alert after the volcano began spewing mile-high plumes of toxic gas and ash into the air on Monday.
Reports say that residents in San Nicolas de Los Ranchos and other communities within 10 miles of the volcano were under a yellow alert Tuesday to evacuate at short notice if the volcanic activity increases.
Popocatepetl, located in the states of Puebla and Morelos, in the eastern section of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, is one of Mexico’s most active volcanoes.
At 5,426 meters (17,802 ft.), Popocatepetl is the second highest peak in the country, second only to the dormant Citlalt├ępetl (Pico de Orizaba) — about 5,636 meters (18,491 ft.) high — located in the border between the Mexican states of Veracruz and Puebla, also in the eastern part of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt.
It is feared that a major eruption of Popocatepetl could put residents of Mexico City — the world’s fourth largest city and capital of Mexico — at risk.
Popocatepetl is located about 43 miles (70 km) southeast of Mexico City, with a population of 20 million, while the city of Puebla, the largest city of the state of Puebla, with a population of a few million, is about 38 miles (61 kilometers) away.
It is estimated that a major eruption of the 5,426 meter-high (17,802 ft.) volcano places about 9 million people at risk.
Popocatepetl’s last major eruption occurred in 2000, followed by a minor eruption in 2005.

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