Story last updated at 3:27 p.m. Thursday, September 12, 2002

Earthquake shakes Homer
Homer residents got shaken up a bit early Tuesday when an earthquake registering 5.0 hit about 55 miles northwest of town.

The quake occurred at 1:42 a.m. and could be felt throughout Homer.

"It was small, and with a 5.0, what we'd expect is that it will be felt indoors," said Tom Sokolowski, director of the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. "You'll see hanging objects swinging, you'll feel vibrations like light trucks going through, and you might see some things falling off the shelves."

A magnitude 5 quake can be felt 25 to 50 miles from the epicenter, Sokolowski said.

"If it's a really shallow quake, it will be felt farther away," he said. "First you'll feel the P-Wave, which travels faster than the surface wave. The surface wave carries the maximum energy, and that's what you'll usually feel."

Earthquakes are common in the Homer area, he said.

"We get a lot of threes and fours, but not too many fives. Fives are not too bad up here, but a five in Los Angeles would be big news," he said. "If it was right in town, you'd see damage, things being knocked from shelves, windows damaged, but no large fractures."

The scale by which earthquakes are measured is a logarithmic scale, he said, which means that the amplitude increases the higher up the scale you go.

"The difference between one and two, for example, is not as significant as the difference between five and six," he said. "The ground amplitude difference between a five and a six is 10 times more."

While several residents throughout town said they felt the quake, a manager at Eagle Quality Center, which was open at the time, said no employees or customers reported anything.