Cracks in soil a cause for concern? It depends

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — Anyone who frequents Kincaid Park has likely seen the cracks forming in the soil near the bluff facing Cook Inlet. While some cracks like these have formed as harmless reminders, others could pose a potentially serious threat.

Frequent aftershocks have the ability to cause gaps like these to spread in areas where the ground is unstable.

Government Hill resident Nancy Schweiker is afraid that's exactly what's happening to the bluff located between her home near Suzan Nightingale McKay Park overlooking the Port of Anchorage.

"On Monday, we did come up here with the port and notice that it had gone further than we expected, and it widened a little," said Schweiker. "I can't tell you exactly how much but it did widen, somewhat. We're just concerned."

Local geologists and geotechnical engineers are busy checking in on the areas of concern.

Cody Kreitel of PDC Engineers says the best option residents have is to play things safe and report anything that looks like it could still be spreading.

He suggests calling out a geologist or a geotechnical engineer to test impacted areas and do samples to get a better idea of what's happening.

"Most of the cracks we've seen aren't an immediate threat," Kreitel said. "Cracks that are still growing, that appear to be getting wider should definitely be a cause for immediate concern."

Aftershocks are still occurring in the area, and residents are advised to steer clear of any cracks, gaps or sinkholes that could still be shifting and settling.

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