A small earthquake shook Anchorage and surrounding areas at around 1:18 p.m. Monday afternoon.
The magnitude 5.3 quake lasted just a few seconds and was centered 45 miles southeast of Whittier near the middle of the Prince William Sound area. 

The tremor was felt from Valdez to Eagle River; although this was a relatively small quake, local geologists say it's a good reminder to be prepared for something larger.

"At minimum, it's good to have some earthquake plan in place with some people you know and care about, maybe with your workplace depending upon what they want to do," USGS Research Geologist Peter Haeussler said. "Do you have some amount of supplies to give you food and water for some period of time should a really big one occur and you can't get that? Do you have a backup generator that sort of thing?"

Haeussler says it's not the earthquakes that kill people, it's buildings.

"Tall bookshelves tend to fall over onto things and people," Haeussler said. "Heavy wall hanging or televisions can fall onto you as well. Just make sure everything is secure."

Haeussler says most of the buildings in the United States, where earthquakes occur, frequently are pretty sturdy compared to other countries and third-world countries.

"The earthquake in Iran is a pretty good example, Mexico too," Haeussler said. "Here in the U.S., I think there has been a lot of success in terms of having much stronger building codes. The buildings that are built are much stronger and in fact, your normal family home is quite resilient to earthquakes. It tends to be the stuff in them where you have problems. It tends to be these tall skinny things like bookshelves that can fall over. Sometimes water heaters that are not secured, those things need to be taken care of during an earthquake, and, it's a good reminder." 

Alaska is home to the second largest earthquake ever recorded on the planet. It happened in 1964 and was a magnitude 9.2.

If you'd like to track earthquakes in Alaska or around the world, even chime in when you feel one, head over to the GSPS website and tell them you felt that!

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