ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A magnitude-6.8 earthquake knocked items off shelves and walls in south-central Alaska and jolted the nerves of residents in this earthquake-prone region. But there were no immediate reports of injuries.
The earthquake struck about 1:30 a.m. Alaska time and was centered 53 miles west of Anchor Point in the Kenai Peninsula, which is about 160 miles southwest of Anchorage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. About two hours later, a magnitude-4.3 aftershock hit the Cook Inlet, the agency said.
The earthquake was widely felt by residents of Anchorage. But the Anchorage and Valdez police departments said they have not received any reports of injury or significant damage.
In this photo provided by Vincent Nusunginya, boxes of cereal and bottles of juice lie on the floor of a Safeway grocery store following a magnitude 6.8 earthquake on the Kenai Peninsula on Sunday Jan. 24, 2016, in south-central Alaska. The quake knocked items off shelves and walls in south-central Alaska and jolted the nerves of residents in this earthquake prone region, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. (Vincent Nusunginya via the AP)
In this photo provided by Vincent Nusunginya, items fallen from the shelves litter the aisles inside a Safeway grocery store following a magnitude 6.8 earthquake on the Kenai Peninsula on Sunday Jan. 24, 2016, in south-central Alaska. The quake knocked items off shelves and walls in south-central Alaska and jolted the nerves of residents in this earthquake prone region, but there were no immediate reports of injuries. (Vincent Nusunginya via the AP)
#UPDATE Alaska hit by 6.8-magnitude earthquake: USGS https://t.co/ix4fAiGVNK https://t.co/veXgdSZT50
Massive earthquake hits south-central Alaska overnight, could be felt 100s of miles away https://t.co/9STNnuJ2Ey https://t.co/U8A4g4JicQ
#Earthquake upgraded to a 7.1 on the richter scale. Although it felt like it was about a 9.1 on the poop your pants scale. #Alaska
Seriously, nothing like a 7.1 #earthquake to wake you in the middle of the night. #alaska
That one was a little scary. My heart is still racing as it knocked me right out of bed. #Alaska #earthquake https://t.co/bvyfOAHNHT
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Ron Barta said his Anchorage home shook about 1:34 a.m. when the earthquake hit. The pictures on the walls started moving, but there was no damage to his house and no one was hurt, said Barta, 55.
"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.
Vincent Nusunginya, 34, of Kenai said he was at his girlfriend's house when the earthquake hit.
"It started out as a shaking and it seemed very much like a normal earthquake. But then it started to feel like a normal swaying, like a very smooth side-to-side swaying," said Nusunginya, director of audience at the Peninsula Clarion newspaper. "It was unsettling. Some things got knocked over, but there was no damage."
There were reports of scattered power outages from the Matanuska Electric Association and Chugach Electric in the Anchorage area. The Homer Electric Association reported on its website that about 4,800 customers were without power early Sunday in the Kenai Peninsula.
The Alaska Department of Transportation reported on its Facebook page that there was road damage near the community of Kasilof, on the Kenai Peninsula.
The KSRM (Radio Kenai) radio station in the Kenai peninsula said 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.
A dispatcher for the Homer police department, who declined to identify herself, said no one called to report broken gas lines or any significant damage, but many called to report feeling the strong 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."
The hashtag #akquake was trending early Sunday on Twitter, where people were sharing their experiences of the quake and posting photos of items that had fallen off walls and shelves.
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."
A tsunami is not expected as a result of the earthquake, the National Weather Service said.
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