A strong and shallow earthquake of magnitude 8.2 struck the Alaskan peninsula late on Wednesday. It triggers tsunami warnings in the U.S. state and heightened surveillance across the pacific.
The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) issued alerts for southern parts of Alaska, the volcanic peninsula itself, and Pacific coastal areas from Hinchinbrook entrance to Unimak pass.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy said that the state’s emergency operation center had been activated and authorities were contacting communities in the tsunami warning areas.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake, which struck at 10:15 p.m. local time (0615 GMT Thursday), was at a depth of 35 km.
The NTWC said it was evaluating the level of tsunami danger for other U.S. and Canadian Pacific coastal areas.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency was investigating whether there was a possibility of a tsunami hitting Japan, public broadcaster NHK said. There were no tsunami alerts on Japan’s Meteorological Agency website.
The tremor struck about 91 km east-southeast of Perryville in Alaska. It was about 800 km (500 miles) from Anchorage, Alaska’s biggest city. The National Weather Service tweeted that there was no tsunami threat to Anchorage.
The USGS added that the quake was followed by eight aftershocks in the region, with two above magnitude 6.0.
Police in Kodiak, the largest town on the island of Kodiak, advised residents to move to high ground, adding that the high school was open as an evacuation location.
Kodiak is near the northwestern tip of Kodiak Island, which is the largest island in Alaska and is the second-largest island in the US.
Evacuations underway in Kodiak, Alaska amid an ongoing tsunami warning following a magnitude 8.2 earthquake.
Videos posted on social media by journalists and residents in Kodiak showed people evacuating their homes, driving away from the coast or walking in groups to higher ground as warning sirens could be heard.
There have been at least two strong aftershocks, including a preliminary magnitude 6.2 and magnitude 5.6, the USGS reports.
A tsunami watch had been issued for Hawaii but was later canceled. “Based on all available data there is no tsunami threat,” the National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
Only minor tsunami confirmed – wave heights less than 1 ft
There’s good news for the northern Pacific: only a small tsunami has been confirmed and some (minor) impacts are expected for some coasts in South Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula, the latest message of the U.S. Tsunami Warning System reads.
The warning was lifted for most areas or downgraded to an advisory, in particular for the coastal areas from Hinchinbrook Entrance, Alaska (90 miles E of Seward) to Unimak Pass, Alaska (80 miles NE of Unalaska), as well as the Aleutian Islands, from Unimak Pass, Alaska (80 miles NE of Unalaska) to Samalga Pass, Alaska (30 miles SW of Nikolski).
Maximum observed wave heights were less than 1ft (30 cm).
The Tsunami Advisory is canceled for the coastal areas of Aleutian Islands from Samalga Pass, Alaska (30 miles SW of Nikolski) to Amchitka Pass, Alaska (125 miles W of Adak).
Link to full advisory: Latest Tsunami message
Magnitude 8.2 Alaska quake did NOT cause significant tsunami
Based on available data, there is no indication that the massive quake earlier today in the Aleutian Trench south of the Alaska Peninsula triggered a hazardous tsunami. As a consequence, the original tsunami alerts were canceled although scientists continue to monitor the situation.
Warnings for distant areas including Guam and Hawaii have been lifted. Only waves not exceeding 0.3 m were observed or expected in the closer coastal areas of the Aleutians and Alaska. (More detail)
Alaskan coast 8.2 magnitude earthquake was the strongest one in decades
The 8.2 magnitude earthquake that struck off Alaska’s coast Wednesday night was the strongest one since 1964.
Alaska is part of the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire.
Alaska was hit by a 9.2-magnitude earthquake in March 1964, the strongest ever recorded in North America.
It devastated Anchorage and unleashed a tsunami that slammed the Gulf of Alaska, the US west coast, and Hawaii.
More than 250 people were killed by the quake and the tsunami.
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake also caused tsunami waves in Alaska’s southern coast in October, but no casualties were reported.