The M7.9 Denali fault earthquake occurred on 3 November 2002 with an epicenter located 135 km south of Fairbanks and 283 km north of Anchorage. This epicenter is 22–25 km east of the M6.7 Nenana Mountain earthquake that occurred eleven days earlier, October 23, awakening some inhabitants of central Alaska at about 3:30 that morning. Like most earthquakes of its size, the M7.9 earthquake was a complex event. The rupture began with vertical slip along a 40-km segment of the previously unrecognized Susitna Glacier thrust fault, which is connected to the Denali fault. The rupture continued with right-lateral horizontal slip along the main trace of the Denali fault. It eventually split off the Denali fault onto the more southeast-trending Totschunda fault. The total rupture length was 330–340 kilometers, with at least three areas of high slip, or high energy release.

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