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Quake Measuring 5.6 Rattles South-Central Alaska

August 14, 1990

HOMER, Alaska (AP) _ A moderately strong earthquake shook the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage Monday, knocking objects from store shelves and rattling residents as far as 400 miles away, authorities said.

The quake measured 5.6 on the Richter scale, according to the Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer and the Alaska Earthquake Information Center in Fairbanks. A quake of that magnitude is capable of causing considerable local damage in the right conditions.

Those agencies and police in Homer and the other main peninsula town of Kenai said there were no reports of damage or injuries.

″Everything was dancing - it felt like the roof was coming in,″ said Fran Skaggs, who works at Ulmer’s Rexall drugstore in Homer.

″There were quite a few things falling off the shelves,″ Skaggs said. ″We didn’t lose anything - there’s just a few piles of things here and there that need to be cleaned up.″

The quake, at 3:04 p.m., was centered between Homer and Ninilchik, said Charlotte Rowe, a seismologist at the Earthquake Information Center. The area - a popular vacation spot some 110 miles southwest of Anchorage - is one of the more populous parts of the sparsely settled state.

It was felt strongly in Anchorage and also in Fairbanks, 400 miles to the north.

The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., gave the quake a Richter reading of 5.3, said spokeswoman Pat Jorgensen.

Dispatcher Sam Brown of the Kenai Police Department said she hadn’t received any calls about the earthquake.

″We felt a big jolt and things started shaking pretty good,″ she said.

An earthquake of 3.5 on the Richter scale can cause slight damage in the local area, 4 moderate damage, 5 considerable damage, 6 severe damage. A 7 reading is a ″major″ earthquake, capable of widespread heavy damage; 8 is a ″great″ quake, capable of tremendous damage.

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