Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Earthquake rattles residents out of slumber


A magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered 50 miles west of Haines shook residents awake early Wednesday, but caused no reported damage or injuries.

According to the Alaska Earthquake Information Center, the quake occurred at 3:58 a.m., with an epicenter near Muir Inlet in Glacier Bay.

Graveyard shift police dispatcher Tamsen Cassidy said the quake hit the public safety building – known to sit on squishy soil – like a rolling wave.

“It definitely wobbled, but it wasn’t like a whomp. I started feeling like I was on a boat, rocking.” It seemed to last about 40 seconds, she said.

Cassidy said firefighters called in to check if there were any emergency calls, but she received none about damage due to the quake.

Carol Tuynman was awake and outside at her 7 Mile Mud Bay Road property moments before the quake. “The birds were singing and everyone was happy.”

She was inside her home when the quake started and stepped outside just after it ended. “I came outside and there wasn’t a sound.”

The magnitude and early-morning hour of the quake made it reminiscent of a series of quakes that occurred in Haines in November 1987 that knocked a few items off shelves at local stores.

In 1987, an initial quake at 6:48 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 measured 5.3 on the Richter scale and was centered just 10 miles southeast of Haines. A second quake classified as “severe” and measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale occurred two days later, and was centered 90 miles southwest of Yakutat, triggering a tsunami alert.

About five hours later, a third quake of 5.1 magnitude occurred 30 miles east of Haines.

Newspaper records show there were six quakes above a magnitude of 5 felt in Haines between 1987 and 2000.