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Trans-Alaska pipeline closed after powerful earthquake

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Reuters reports that a powerful earthquake jolted southern Alaska on Friday morning, causing the Trans-Alaska pipeline to be shut as a precaution.

A powerful earthquake jolted southern Alaska on Friday morning, buckling roads, disrupting rush-hour traffic and jamming telephone service in and around Anchorage, the state’s largest city, but there were no reports of serious injuries, reports Reuters.

The Trans Alaska Pipeline, which carries crude oil 800 miles (1300 km) from the North Slope to a marine terminal at Valdez, was shut down for about seven hours as a precaution, but no damage to the system was detected, said a spokeswoman for the operator, Aleyska Pipeline Service Co.

The 7.0 magnitude quake struck about 8 miles (13 km) north of Anchorage, a city of 300 000 residents accounting for about 40% of Alaska’s population, and was followed by dozens of aftershocks throughout the day.

Roads and bridges appeared to have been hardest hit, but Anchorage was otherwise mostly spared from major structural damage, authorities said.

The initial quake produced strong shaking within a 30 mile (50 km) radius of its epicentre, with ground movement felt as far away as Fairbanks, 250 miles (400 km) to the north, and Kodiak, roughly the same distance to the south, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

A tsunami warning was issued for Cook Inlet, linking Anchorage with the Gulf of Alaska, but was later cancelled.

President Donald Trump declared a federal emergency, ordering US government assistance in the earthquake response and authorising the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts, the White House said.

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