7.5 magnitude earthquake hits off Alaska coast, triggering tsunami warning
The quake was registered some 55 miles (90km) south of Sand Point, Alaska on Monday, at a depth of nearly 25 miles (40km). The National Weather Service announced a tsunami warning for residents in South Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula soon after the jolt, but said the risk level is still being evaluated for “other US and Canadian Pacific coasts in North America.” No injuries or structural damage have yet been reported.
Just In: A M7.4 quake offshore of Alaska has prompted a Tsumani Warning for some coastal locations including portions of the Kenai Peninsula. 🌊 https://t.co/geV197vvTm— Mike Hamernik (@MikeHamernik) October 19, 2020
Those in the affected region have been asked to evacuate inland or to higher ground, and to keep away from the coast, as well as harbors, marinas and bays.
A series of aftershocks were recorded not long after the first jolt, the two largest at 5.8 and 5.2 magnitude, both over 60 miles (100km) south of Sand Point, a small city on the Alaska Peninsula with a population of just over 1,000.
Across the Gulf of Alaska, authorities in British Columbia, Canada also said they were assessing the tsunami risk, asking residents to stand by for updates should they be asked to evacuate.
A 7.5 magnitude (upgraded from 7.4) earthquake has occurred near Sand Point, Alaska. An assessment is in progress to determine if a tsunami threat exists for BC. Please continue to stand by for #BC specific information. #BCtsunamihttps://t.co/uU03RMB6XC— Emergency Info BC (@EmergencyInfoBC) October 19, 2020
Eerie footage has circulated on social media in which sirens and an emergency announcement can be heard, with a voice stating over a loudspeaker “attention: a tsunami warning has been issued for this area.”
BREAKING VIDEO — Tsunami Sirens going off in Alaska, GET TOO HIGH GROUND IMMEDIATELY pic.twitter.com/HCm1GJtjwy— FJ News Reporter (@FJNewsReporter) October 19, 2020
Other footage showed homes in Cold Bay and King Cove – both about 100 miles west of Sand Point – shaking during the tremor, with objects seen rattled from walls and homeowners reassuring terrified pets.
The tsunami warning has been downgraded to a tsunami advisory, but aftershocks keep hitting communities near Sand Point after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake Monday afternoon. Here's what the 7.5 earthquake looked like in Cold Bay. #Alaska#earthquakeStory: https://t.co/4PX77l8w7Epic.twitter.com/Z5TbWiyKMK— Alaska's News Source (@AKNewsNow) October 19, 2020
Not long after the tsunami warning was issued, the National Weather Service downgraded the alert to a mere “advisory,” noting that the largest wave measured was about two feet at Sand Point.
The Tsunami Warning was replaced with a Tsunami Advisory for South Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula following a strong earthquake. The maximum tsunami height so far was 2 feet measured at Sand Point, AK. Check https://t.co/c9d70Xm7a7 for the most up to date details. pic.twitter.com/XshDRhnj1F— National Weather Service (@NWS) October 19, 2020
Sitting along the northern arc of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire,’ Alaska is among the most quake-prone states in the US, averaging around 40,000 seisms every year and more large earthquakes than the other 49 states combined. The strongest jolt ever recorded in Alaska – and indeed all of North America – came in 1964, with the 9.2 magnitude Good Friday quake, which set off landslides and tsunamis and left 131 people dead, including some as far away as California and Oregon.
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