Alaska’s North Slope was hit Sunday by the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the region, the state’s seismologist said. At 6:58 a.m. Sunday, the magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck an area 42 miles east of Kavik River Camp and 343 miles northeast of Fairbanks, the state’s second-biggest city. The agency says the earthquake had a depth of about 6 miles.
State seismologist Mike West told the Anchorage Daily News that the quake was the biggest recorded in the North Slope by a substantial amount. “This is a very significant event that will take us some time to understand,” he told the Daily News. The previous most powerful quake in the North Slope was in 1995 at magnitude 5.2, West told the newspaper. The jump from a 5.2 to Sunday’s 6.4 is significant because earthquakes rapidly grow in strength as magnitude rises, he said.