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Moderate Earthquake Rattles Area Near Yakutat

January 9, 1985

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ A moderate earthquake shook a sparsely populated area on Alaska’s southern coast Wednesday, but no damage or injuries were reported.

The 10:28 a.m. AST quake measured 5.9 on the Richter scale and was centered about midway between the two small villages of Yakutat and Cape Yakataga, said John Sindorf of the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.

″We talked to Yakutat and Cape Yakataga,″ said Sindorf. ″It was felt by nearly everyone in both places, but there were no reports of damage in either place. It was also reported to be felt in Whitehorse and Burwash Landing″ in the Yukon Territory.

The Richter scale is a measure of ground motion as recorded on seismographs. Every increase of one number means a tenfold increase in magnitude. Thus a reading of 7.5 reflects an earthquake 10 times stronger than one of 6.5.

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.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906, which occurred before the Richter scale was devised, has been estimated at 8.3 on the scale.

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