The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rattled Alaska’s largest city cracked roads and collapsed highway ramps, but there were no reports of widespread catastrophic damage or collapsed buildings.

There’s a good reason for that.

A devastating 1964 Alaska earthquake — the most powerful on record in the United States — led to stricter building codes that helped structures withstand the shifting earth Friday.

A dump truck and excavator work on a temporary fix of an off ramp that collapsed after an earthquake on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. A driver attempting to exit Minnesota Drive at International Airport Road was not injured when the ramp sank. Two strong earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 ripped apart highways, cracked buildings and rattled people's nerves around Anchorage. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)
A dump truck and excavator work on a temporary fix of an off ramp that collapsed after an earthquake on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. A driver attempting to exit Minnesota Drive at International Airport Road was not injured when the ramp sank. Two strong earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 ripped apart highways, cracked buildings and rattled people’s nerves around Anchorage. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)

“Congratulations to the people of Alaska for being really prepared for this earthquake,” U.S. Geological Survey Geophysicist Paul Caruso said Saturday. “Because a magnitude 7.0 in a city like that, you know, it could have been significantly worse.”

A seismic expert said Alaska and California use the most stringent standards to help buildings withstand earthquakes.

Energy Services North employees prepare to replace a fallen street light Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska, one of the effects of the morning's earthquake which caused extensive damage to the local area. Scientists say the damaging Alaska earthquake and aftershocks occurred on a type of fault in which one side moves down and away from the other side. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)
Energy Services North employees prepare to replace a fallen street light Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska, one of the effects of the morning’s earthquake which caused extensive damage to the local area. Scientists say the damaging Alaska earthquake and aftershocks occurred on a type of fault in which one side moves down and away from the other side. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)

Sterling Strait, a member of the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission, said the states use the International Building Code, considered the best available standard for seismic safety.

It requires buildings to be designed to resist possible ground motion determined by location and earthquake histories.

It also mandates structural connections — such as beams and columns — be reinforced to resist damage from shaking, said Strait, seismic program coordinator for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., operator of the 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) Alaska oil pipeline.

Anchorage resident C.J. Johnson stocks up on water and bread at a local grocery, after the morning's 7.0-magnitude earthquake which caused extensive damage to the local area in Anchorage, Alaska, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. The earthquake that shook Anchorage and damaged roadways also knocked many traffic lights out of service and has snarled traffic. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)
Anchorage resident C.J. Johnson stocks up on water and bread at a local grocery, after the morning’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake which caused extensive damage to the local area in Anchorage, Alaska, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. The earthquake that shook Anchorage and damaged roadways also knocked many traffic lights out of service and has snarled traffic. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)

Gov. Bill Walker said sometimes people, including himself, grouse about stringent building codes. But he’s “really glad” they were in place as he only had minor water damage at his home.

“Building codes mean something,” he said.

This aerial photo shows damage at the Glenn Highway near Mirror Lake after earthquakes in the Anchorage area, Alaska, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 shattered highways and rocked buildings Friday in Anchorage and the surrounding area, sending people running into the streets and briefly triggering a tsunami warning for islands and coastal areas south of the city. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
This aerial photo shows damage at the Glenn Highway near Mirror Lake after earthquakes in the Anchorage area, Alaska, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 shattered highways and rocked buildings Friday in Anchorage and the surrounding area, sending people running into the streets and briefly triggering a tsunami warning for islands and coastal areas south of the city. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

The quake was centered about 7 miles (12 kilometers) north of Anchorage, which has a population of about 300,000. People ran from their offices or took cover under desks. A 5.7 aftershock followed within minutes. Then came a series of smaller quakes.

The two big back-to-back quakes knocked items off shelves, disrupted power, broke store windows and briefly triggered a tsunami warning for islands and coastal areas south of the city. Walker issued a disaster declaration, and President Donald Trump declared an emergency, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief.

There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries.

Tristan Covina helps clean up broken glass in the offices of the Institute Alaska, following an earthquake, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)
Tristan Covina helps clean up broken glass in the offices of the Institute Alaska, following an earthquake, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)

The oil pipeline was shut down for hours Friday while crews were sent to inspect it for damage. Alyeska spokeswoman Michelle Egan said it was restarted at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

She said Saturday there were no obvious signs of damage and no operational impact on the pipeline. Its closest section is 120 miles (193 kilometers) from the epicenter of the seismic activity.

Adriel Matavo, left, and Aisoli Lealasola work in a walk-in cooler to clean up fallen cases of beer at a liquor store, Value Liquor, after an earthquake on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. Owner Mary Funner says beer, wine and other bottled alcohol was strewn throughout store aisles after the quake. She considered closing Friday until customers began lining up. They were allowed to come in in small groups.
Adriel Matavo, left, and Aisoli Lealasola work in a walk-in cooler to clean up fallen cases of beer at a liquor store, Value Liquor, after an earthquake on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. Owner Mary Funner says beer, wine and other bottled alcohol was strewn throughout store aisles after the quake. She considered closing Friday until customers began lining up. They were allowed to come in in small groups. “We’re still in business, but we’re only open only a little bit at a time,” she said. (AP Photo/Dan Joling)

Aftershocks Saturday continued to fray nerves, with people worrying about being caught in more massive shakers.

“They’re disturbing, and I’m not putting anything away that could fall until they calm down,” Randall Cavanaugh, an Anchorage attorney, said following a restless night at home. “I kept waking up.”

By mid-morning, there had been about 550 aftershocks, including 11 with magnitudes of 4.5 or greater, Caruso said.

Allison Susel, the acting principal at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, Alaska, surveys damage following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Susel said ceiling tiles came down, books and other items were thrown off shelves in the library and there was water damage, but there were no injuries to students or staff at the suburban Anchorage school. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Allison Susel, the acting principal at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, Alaska, surveys damage following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Susel said ceiling tiles came down, books and other items were thrown off shelves in the library and there was water damage, but there were no injuries to students or staff at the suburban Anchorage school. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

The aftershocks should be weaker and less frequent in the coming days, but officials can’t say for sure when they’ll stop, he said.

Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said the extent of damage was “relatively small” considering the scale of Friday’s earthquake. He also credited building codes for minimizing structure damage.

Damage is shown to the library at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, Alaska, following earthquakes Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Acting Principal Allison Susel said ceiling tiles came down, books and other items were thrown off shelves in the library and there was water damage, but there were no injuries to students or staff at the suburban Anchorage school. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Damage is shown to the library at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, Alaska, following earthquakes Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Acting Principal Allison Susel said ceiling tiles came down, books and other items were thrown off shelves in the library and there was water damage, but there were no injuries to students or staff at the suburban Anchorage school. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

“In terms of a disaster, I think it says more about who we are than what we suffered,” he said at a press briefing, adding that Anchorage was prepared for such an emergency.

“People pulled together. We followed the plans that were in place. We looked after one another. And when people around the country and around the world look at this, they’re going to say, ‘We want to do things in the Anchorage way because Anchorage did this right,” Berkowitz said.

After the first earthquake, Alaska’s largest hospital activated its incident command center, but the trickle of patients into the emergency room at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage was like a normal workday.

Damage is shown to the library at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, Alaska, following earthquakes Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Acting Principal Allison Susel said ceiling tiles came down, books and other items were thrown off shelves in the library and there was water damage, but there were no injuries to students or staff at the suburban Anchorage school. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Damage is shown to the library at Chugiak High School in Chugiak, Alaska, following earthquakes Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Acting Principal Allison Susel said ceiling tiles came down, books and other items were thrown off shelves in the library and there was water damage, but there were no injuries to students or staff at the suburban Anchorage school. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

“It wasn’t a situation where there was a mass rush of people,” hospital spokesman Mikal Canfield said.

Roads didn’t fare so well. The Alaska Department of Transportation counted about 50 sites with damage, including eight considered major. Most of the damage was done to highways north of Anchorage. The agency also was planning to conduct bridge inspections.

A ramp from International Airport Road to Minnesota Drive was damaged in an earthquake on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says it will take more than a week or two to repair roads damaged by the powerful earthquake. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)
A ramp from International Airport Road to Minnesota Drive was damaged in an earthquake on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker says it will take more than a week or two to repair roads damaged by the powerful earthquake. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

Transportation officials said in a release that the aftershocks continue to contribute to settling and additional cracking. Rock falls exacerbated by the aftershocks were causing some problems on the Seward Highway south of Anchorage.

Earthquake damage also was preventing Alaska Railroad trains from making the trek between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The trip is 350 miles (563 kilometers) each way.

Train service south of Anchorage is scheduled to resume Sunday.

One of the top seismologists in the U.S. says residents near Anchorage should expect aftershocks following the 7.0 magnitude quake that struck near that city early Friday. (Nov. 30)
One of the top seismologists in the U.S. says residents near Anchorage should expect aftershocks following the 7.0 magnitude quake that struck near that city early Friday. (Nov. 30)

Normal operations resumed at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport after flight operations were suspended Friday, Transportation Department spokesman Meadow Bailey told The Associated Press.

Anchorage’s school system canceled classes through Tuesday while it examined buildings for damage.

Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 rocked buildings and shattered roads Friday morning in Anchorage, sending people running into the streets and briefly triggering a tsunami warning to residents in Kodiak to flee to higher ground. (Nov 30)
Back-to-back earthquakes measuring 7.0 and 5.7 rocked buildings and shattered roads Friday morning in Anchorage, sending people running into the streets and briefly triggering a tsunami warning to residents in Kodiak to flee to higher ground. (Nov 30)

Alaska’s 1964 earthquake, with a 9.2 magnitude, was centered about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Anchorage. It and the tsunami it triggered claimed about 130 lives.

The state averages 40,000 earthquakes a year, with more large quakes than the 49 other states combined.

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The police chief says parts of a scenic highway that heads from Anchorage toward mountains and glaciers have sunken and
The police chief says parts of a scenic highway that heads from Anchorage toward mountains and glaciers have sunken and “completely disappeared” following the earthquake (Nov. 30)

The spelling of Cavanaugh has been corrected in this story.

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Here's the latest for Friday, Nov. 30th: A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocks Alaska; the G-20 Summit kicks off in Argentina; a Marriott Hotel security breach compromises the information of 500 million people; Amsterdam's annual light festival gets underway.
Here’s the latest for Friday, Nov. 30th: A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocks Alaska; the G-20 Summit kicks off in Argentina; a Marriott Hotel security breach compromises the information of 500 million people; Amsterdam’s annual light festival gets underway.

Associated Press writers Becky Bohrer in Juneau, Alaska; Dan Joling in Anchorage; Gillian Flaccus in Portland, Oregon; Gene Johnson in Seattle; Jennifer Kelleher, Audrey McAvoy and Caleb Jones in Honolulu; Rachel La Corte in Olympia, Washington; and John Antczak in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Source: The Associated Press

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