A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Alaska Peninsula, triggering a tsunami alert for areas within 300 kilometers of the epicenter.
Sirens sounded as residents were warned to move inland or to higher ground, according to reports.
The shallow earthquake struck at 6:12 a.m. GMT on Wednesday about 500 miles southwest of Anchorage and about 60 miles southeast of the isolated colony of Perryville, the US Geological Survey said.
“Based on the preliminary parameters of the earthquake … dangerous tsunami waves are possible for coasts within 300 km of the earthquake epicenter,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
A tsunami warning was in effect for the Alaska Peninsula and southern Alaska.
“For the remaining US and Canadian Pacific coasts in North America, the tsunami danger level is being assessed.”
Warning sirens sounded in Kodiak, the main town on Kodiak Island, and several thousand people were evacuating lower areas, Sgt.Daniel Blizzard said, along with Alaska State soldiers. , at 11 KTVA News.
“People are rather concerned about an earthquake as big as it is near Kodiak,” he said.
“The last one there was no wave. This time we’re not sure there is a wave, but we’re preparing as if there is one,” Blizzard said.
The first place to see a tsunami wave, Sandy Point, had so far reported only a “very small wave”, said James Gridley, director of the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska. Public Media (APM).
“We’re not expecting a massive wave anywhere,” he said.
The earthquake, however, was felt hundreds of kilometers away.
“The bed and the curtains were fine. Felt like a very long earthquake!” a witness in Homer, Alaska, 400 miles from the epicenter, told the earthquake monitoring website msc-csem.org.
It was followed by several aftershocks, the strongest measuring 5.7.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
The quake appears to be a subduction zone earthquake, where two tectonic plates converge, a seismologist said.
“This is the interface, the plate boundary between where the Pacific Plate propagates under North America. A very standard type of earthquake in this region,” said Mike West of the ‘Alaska Volcanoes Observatory at APM.
Alaska is part of the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire.
The US state was struck by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake in March 1964, the strongest on record in North America. It devastated Anchorage and triggered a tsunami that struck the Gulf of Alaska, the west coast of the United States and Hawaii.
More than 250 people were killed by the earthquake and tsunami.
(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)