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Powerful 7.8 earthquake hits Alaska isles, triggers initial tsunami warning

A 7.8 magnitude quake late July 21 was centered 60 miles south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska.
A 7.8 magnitude quake late July 21 was centered 60 miles south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska.
(Quakebot)

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 of people wore masks against the spread of the coronavirus as they gathered in shelters.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck Tuesday at 10:12 p.m. local time. 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. “No injuries were reported. Everything is nominal.”

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

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

On Kodiak Island, the local high school opened its doors for evacuees, as did the local Roman 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.”

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.

According to the USGS, since 1900 there have been six other earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 and higher 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.


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