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The largest city in Alaska woke up to a horrifying and devastating 7.0 natural disaster. swaying buildings, buckling roads and knocking down telephone towers. Officials have now cancelled a tsunami warning for southern Alaska that was issued following the 7.0-magnitude natural disaster.

The Anchorage Police Department reported "major infrastructure damage" across the city, with cracks appearing in walls and water mains knocked out. "It was very clear that this was something bigger than what we normally experience".

The Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center in downtown Anchorage was being used as a shelter for people unable to get home.

Alaska averages 40,000 earthquakes per year, with more large quakes than the other 49 states combined.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski said the authorities were anxious about access to power following the quake.

The 1964 Alaska natural disaster, one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, was a 9.2-magnitude quake, Ebel said.

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The 7.0 magnitude quake struck just outside Anchorage, Alaska's largest city, on Friday, prompting Governor Bill Walker to deem it a disaster, after which the USA president "declared that an emergency exists in the State of Alaska" and ordered the government to free up federal funding to battle "emergency conditions in the areas affected by an quake".

An Associated Press reporter said there were cracks in a two-storey building following the quake.

Kilgore said only 15 or 16 quakes of magnitude 6 or greater have been recorded during the past century in the same region.

People went back inside after the first quake struck, but the 5.8 aftershock about five minutes later sent them running back into the streets. He first thought his vehicle had a flat tire, then thought it was exploding. The quake, which lasted about 4½ minutes, and the tsunami it triggered claimed about 130 lives.

All flights were halted for several hours at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, and some flights were rerouted to Kodiak, Fairbanks and Kenai.

A 7 magnitude quake struck Anchorage, Alaska, Friday morning, buckling roads, causing structural damage and prompting a tsunami warning that was canceled around 10 a.m. local time. The warning was canceled shortly after 10 a.m.