Unusually high numbers of earthquakes hit Alaska in May 2017


A series of significant May earthquakes and their aftershocks are being examined by seismologists, as Alaska is markedly above its usual rate of earthquakes for the month.

Alaska records 3,000 quakes statewide in a month but right now, we have already recorded close to the monthly average in just the first 10 days.

earthquake alaska may 2017, Unusual numbers of earthquakes hit Alaska in May 2017, unprecedent earthquake rate alaska
Unusual numbers of earthquakes hit Alaska in May 2017


This unusual sequence comprises among others:

  • 3 earthquakes larger than magnitude 6
  • 7 larger than magnitude 5
  • 50 larger than magnitude

The month began with a 6.2 quake and a 6.3 aftershock on May 1 which struck along the Denali fault line, which extends from Southeast through Canada into the Alaska Range. More than 800 aftershocks had been detected from the Southeast quake by Wednesday. The magnitude 6.2 and 6.3 are pretty much the largest earthquakes along that part of the Denali Fault in a long time. This is the first time in the 40- to 50-year period that we recorded that strong earthquake activity in the region.

The state also saw a 5.2 quake 10 miles north of Ninilchik on May 6 that was felt in Valdez and Palmer, as well as a 3.8 shaker the following day northeast of the Fort Knox Gold Mine that was felt in Fairbanks.

On Monday, a pair of 5.5 temblors off Adak in the Aleutian Islands built to a 6.2 quake.

The highest number of quakes recorded statewide to date came in 2014, when more than 40,000 were detected. Totally crazy.

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