Written by on . Last updated March 3rd, 2024.

A shallow and significant Magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck under land 33 miles from Fairbanks in The United States in the early afternoon of Friday January 19th, 2024. The USGS has indicated there is a potential risk at tsunami's following this earthquake.

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Earthquake Summary

The earthquake struck on land in The United States, 33 miles (53 km) south-east of Fairbanks in Alaska. The center of this earthquake had a very shallow depth of 7 km. Shallow earthquakes usually have a larger impact than earthquakes deep in the earth.

Date and Time: Jan 19, 2024 12:34PM (Anchorage Time)
- Jan 19, 2024 21:34 Universal Time.
Location: 33 mi SE of Fairbanks, Alaska, The United States.
Coordinates 64°29'27"N 146°57'51"W.
Map: Map of area around epicenter.
Map of area around epicenter. Click to open in Google Maps.
Magnitude: MAG 5.3
Detected by 24 stations. Maximum Error Range ±0.053 .
Depth: 7 mi (11 km)
A very shallow depth.
Max. Intensity:
VII
Very Strong

On the Modified Mercalli Scale.
Tsunami Risk: Potential tsunami risk
The USGS has indicated there is a potential risk at tsunami's following this earthquake.
Always stay cautious - More info here.

Potential tsunami risk

DISCLAIMER: We strongly suggest to closely monitor advice from local authorities with regards to tsunami risks. Our analysis is based on automatically collected data from external sources, and these might contain mistakes. In addition, earthquakes can cause landslides that may lead to a tsunami, or be a followed by another, potentially stonger, earthquake.

There is a potential tsunami risk in the aftermath of this earthquake, immediately evacuate to higher grounds away from coastal areas and monitor advice from local authorities. The US Geographic Survey organization has indicated a potential risk for tsunami's following this earthquake.

Tsunami Risk Factors

Factor Under Sea? MAG-6.5 or stronger? Shallow depth?
Explanation Almost all tsunami's are caused by earthquakes with their epicenter under sea or very near the sea. However stay cautious in coastal areas as earthquakes on land may cause landslides into sea, potentially still causing a local tsunami. Under MAG 6.5: Very unlikely to cause a tsunami.
MAG 6.5 to 7.5: Destructive tsunami's do occur, but are uncommon. Likely to observe small sea level changes.
MAG 7.6+: Earthquakes with these magnitudes might produce destructive tsunami's.
Most destructive tsunami's are caused by shallow earthquakes with a depth between 0 and 100km under the surface of the earth. Deeper tsunami's are unlikely to displace to ocean floor.
This Earthquake Not this earthquake.
This earthquake appears to have struck on land far from any coast.
Not this earthquake.
This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.3. Earthquakes of this strength are unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
This earthquake occurred at a depth of of 7 mi (11 km). Earthquakes this shallow could trigger a tsunami.

Minimal impact predicted

Based on scientific estimates by the US Geographic Survey (USGS), the risk of high fatalities for this earthquake is classified at level GREEN (low). They expect an 69% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 fatalities, and a 98% chance that the number of fatalities falls no higher than 10.

The USGS classifies the economic impact of this earthquake at level GREEN (low). They expect an 86% likelyhood of between 0 and 1 million US Dollars in economic damage and impact, and a 99% chance that the economic impact of this earthquake falls no higher than 10 million USD.

Roughly 110 thousand people exposed to shaking

This earthquake may have been felt by around 110 thousand people. That is the expected population size of the area exposed to a level of shaking of II or higher on the Modified Mercalli scale according to the USGS.

An estimated 220 people were exposed to level VII. At this level, very strong shaking and likely moderate damage can be expected. The majority of people (roughly 90 thousand) live in an area exposed to level IV, where light shaking and likely no damage is expected.

People MMI Level Shaking Damage
0
I
Not noticable None
240
II
Very weak None
7,710
III
Weak Probably none
88,810
IV
Light Likely none
16,170
V
Moderate Very light
990
VI
Strong Light
220
VII
Very Strong Moderate
0
VIII
Severe Moderate to heavy
0
IX
Violent Heavy
0
X
Extreme Very heavy

Nearby towns and cities

This earthquake may have been felt in The United States . The closest significant population center near the earthquake is Badger in Alaska, The United States. Badger is located 27 miles (44 km) south-east of the epicenter. Badger experienced an earthquake intensity (MMI Scale) of roughly IV. That level implies light shaking and likely no damage.

Overview of nearby places

Distance Place Intensity (MMI)
27 mi (44 km)
NW from epicenter
Badger

Alaska, The United States.
IV
Light
33 mi (53 km)
NW from epicenter
Fairbanks

Alaska, The United States.
IV
Light
Cities and Towns around the epicenter of this earthquake.

Earthquake Intensity Map

The maximum intensity (MMI Scale) caused by this earthquake is VII. The map below shows in which areas this earthquake was the most and least impactful. It is based on data from the US Geographic Survey.

I Not felt
II Weak
III Weak
IV Light
V Moderate
VI Strong
VII Very Strong
VIII Severe
IX Violent
X Extreme
Earthquake Intensity Map based on Shakemap Data provided by USGS.

14 Aftershocks detected

Since this main shock, 14 smaller aftershocks were detected. At a distance of 1.6 mi (2.5 km) south-east of this earthquake, an aftershock struck 3 mins later. It measured a magnitude of 3.7

Overview of foreshocks and aftershocks

Classification Magnitude When Where
Main Shock
This Earthquake
M 5.3 Jan 19, 2024 12:34PM
(Anchorage Time)
-
Aftershock M 3.7 3 mins later
Jan 19, 2024 12:38PM (Anchorage Time)
1.6 mi (2.5 km)
SE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.5 18 mins later
Jan 19, 2024 12:52PM (Anchorage Time)
1.6 mi (2.5 km)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.1 1 hr later
Jan 19, 2024 01:44PM (Anchorage Time)
0.4 mi (0.6 km)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.5 1 hr later
Jan 19, 2024 01:49PM (Anchorage Time)
1.9 mi (3 km)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.6 2 hrs later
Jan 19, 2024 02:18PM (Anchorage Time)
0.4 mi (0.7 km)
ESE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.4 2 hrs later
Jan 19, 2024 02:22PM (Anchorage Time)
2.1 mi (3 km)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 3.4 2 hrs later
Jan 19, 2024 02:22PM (Anchorage Time)
2.1 mi (3 km)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.5 4 hrs later
Jan 19, 2024 04:23PM (Anchorage Time)
1.3 mi (2.1 km)
E from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.8 6 hrs later
Jan 19, 2024 06:33PM (Anchorage Time)
0.9 mi (1.4 km)
ESE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.7 11 hrs later
Jan 19, 2024 11:39PM (Anchorage Time)
1.2 mi (2 km)
ENE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.5 12 hrs later
Jan 20, 2024 12:50AM (Anchorage Time)
0.8 mi (1.3 km)
SE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.5 13 hrs later
Jan 20, 2024 01:39AM (Anchorage Time)
1.2 mi (2 km)
SSW from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.6 1 day later
Jan 20, 2024 05:41PM (Anchorage Time)
1.3 mi (2.1 km)
SSE from Main Shock.
Aftershock M 2.5 3 days later
Jan 22, 2024 05:59AM (Anchorage Time)
0.8 mi (1.3 km)
SSE from Main Shock.
Detected MAG2.5+ earthquakes within within 100km (62 mi), that occurred in the three days before and after the main shock.

More earthquakes coming?

Earthquakes can create aftershocks. These are generally at least 1 magnitude lower than any main shock, and as time passes the chance and strength of aftershocks decreases.

The chance that a significant earthquake like this one is followed by an even larger earthquake is not so large. On average, scientists estimate a 94% chance that a major earthquake will not be followed by an even larger one. It is still adviced to be aware of this risk

Read: How to Stay Safe during an Earthquake (cdc.gov).

This is the strongest earthquake in 3 years

Earthquakes of this strength occur quite regularly in the region. This is the strongest earthquake to hit since May 31st, 2021, when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit 147 mi (236 km) further south-southwest. That was also the heaviest earthquake to hit the region in the past 10 years.

In total, 3 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.3 or higher have been registered within 300km (186 mi) of this epicenter in the past 10 years. This comes down to an average of once every 3 years.

Sources

Last updated 03/03/24 03:28 (). This article contains currently available information about the earthquake and is automatically composed. We continue to update this article up to a few days after the earthquake occurred.

  1. US Geographic Society (USGS): Earthquake ak024vrx24o
  2. European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC): Earthquake 20240119_0000265
  3. Geonames.org: World Cities Database
  4. Google Maps: Static API
  5. Earthquakelist.org: Historic Earthquakes Database

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