The Alaska Earthquake Center has raised the magnitude of the major earthquake that shook Southcentral Alaska on Nov. 30.

Although the temblor which damaged roads and schools across the region was initially categorized as a 7.0, the center says after three months of scrutinizing the data, numerous agencies and academic groups agree it was likely a 7.1.

Center staff say it's not unusual to have different estimates, as there are several ways to calculate magnitude. The most popular one uses the size of a rupture, how far the fault moved, and the friction created by the movement.

"The change in magnitude for the Anchorage earthquake has no impact on the events that actually unfolded on November 30, nor on the numerous response activities," wrote state seismologist Michael West. "It does not impact our understanding of how or why the earthquake occurred. It is a minor adjustment that, as we move forward, helps put the earthquake in better perspective vis-a-vis other earthquakes in Alaska and globally."

Southcentral Alaska's devastating 1964 Good Friday earthquake also rose in magnitude over time, after initially being classified as an 8.4 or 8.5. It wasn't until years after the quake that it was revised to the 9.2 number scientists now use.

Disaster relief applications for the quake are being taken until April 1 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Those applications can be made at various disaster recovery centers across Southcentral Alaska, online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362.

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