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Quake isn't matter of if, but of when

Castle Mountain fault has produced a big one about every 700 years, and the time's almost up.

ALASKA - a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist on Monday laid out evidence that an earthquake, as big as magnitude 7.0, is likely to happen soon on the Castle Mountain fault. The fault is of concern because of how closely it passes to people and projects. It arcs across the central Matanuska-Susitna Borough from the Talkeetna Mountains near Sutton in the east toward the Susitna River in southwest Mat-Su. Along the way, it cuts above the borough's most populated area but goes through several subdivisions as well as across the Parks Highway and the Alaska Railroad. A study showed four major earthquakes along the fault in 2,700 years, roughly one every 700 years. The last big earthquake happened between 667 and 694 years ago. "This gives us an idea that we might be entering the time when we're due for an earthquake." Timing is right for a shallow quake on the west end of the fault line. Shallow quakes often hit with more force and cause more damage than earthquakes that originate from deeper underground. Alaska's Good Friday 1964 earthquake, at magnitude 9.2, was both strong and shallow.

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