7.8 Quake Rattles Alaska; Tsunami Threat Over

Headlights from a line of cars shine at dusk as people evacuate the Spit in Homer, Alaska, following a powerful earthquake in the Aleutian Islands that prompted a tsunami warning. There were no immediate reports of damage in the sparsely populated area of the state, and the tsunami warning was later canceled. (Pat Williams Russell via AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A powerful 7.8 earthquake struck the Alaska Peninsula late Tuesday, triggering a tsunami warning that sent residents fleeing to higher ground before it was called off without any damaging waves. Hundreds wore masks against the spread of the coronavirus as they gathered in shelters.

The quake struck Tuesday at 10:12 p.m. local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was centered in waters 65 miles south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska, at a depth of 17 miles, deeper than an earlier estimate.

“No reports of any damage,” Kodiak Police Sgt. Mike Sorter told The Associated Press early Wednesday morning. “No injuries were reported.”

The quake triggered a tsunami warning for South Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands that was called off early Wednesday about two hours after the quake.

Tsunami warning sirens could be heard blaring in videos posted on social media as residents heeded warnings to evacuate.

On Kodiak Island, the high school opened its doors for evacuees, as did the Catholic school, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

“We’ve got a high school full of people,” said Larry LeDoux, superintendent of the Kodiak School District. “I’ve been passing out masks since the first siren sounded,” he told the Daily News.

“Everything’s as calm as can be. We’ve got probably 300, 400 people all wearing masks,” he said.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center called off the tsunami threat for other U.S. and Canadian Pacific coasts in North America as well.

“There was actually even no reported wave activity for our area,” Sorter said of the tsunami warning.

According to the USGS, since 1900 there have been six other earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 and higher centered within 155 miles of Tuesday’s quake. The largest of those was a 8.2 quake in 1938.

The Alaska-Aleutian Trench was also where a magnitude 9.2 quake in 1964 was centered.


By MARK THIESSEN

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