Powerful earthquake triggers tsunami warning

Ash Cant
·2-min read

A powerful earthquake in the US triggered a tsunami warning, with the National Weather Service urging people to move inland and seek higher ground.

The earthquake occurred at 12.55pm on Monday (local time) off the Alaska peninsula and initially triggered a tsunami warning along the coastal areas.

The tsunami warning remained in effect for South Alaska and the Alaska peninsula for about three hours, the warning for other US and Canadian Pacific coasts in North America was lifted by the National Weather Service earlier.

The warning was been downgraded by the weather service to an advisory, after Sand Point saw a tsunami wave measuring 2 feet, or 0.6 metres.

A map of the Alaska peninsula where the 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck. Source: earthquake.usgs.gov
A 7.5. magnitude earthquake striking off the Alaska peninsula has prompted a tsunami warning. Source: earthquake.usgs.gov

“At 12.55pm Alaska Daylight Time on October 19 an earthquake with preliminary magnitude 7.5 occurred 55 miles southeast of Sand Point Alaska,” the National Weather Service said.

“Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is possible or is already occurring,” the weather service said.

According to the Associated Press, the tsunami warning prompted schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to be evacuated to higher ground.

Public safety officials in King Cove sent out an alert urging residents in the coastal area to move inland to higher ground.

A resident from Cold Bay told the Anchorage Daily News the earthquake lasted about 15 to 20 seconds.

While the superintendent of Aleutians East Borough School District, Patrick Mayer, was in Sand Point when the earthquake hit and he told the local publication the earthquake could be felt for 30 to 45 seconds.

“You kind of always wait for it to build more, but it just lasted and trailed off,” he said.

The Alaska Earthquake Center said the quake was widely felt in communities along the southern coast, including Sand Point, Chignik, Unalaska and the Kenai Peninsula.

The Alaska Earthquake Center said a magnitude 5.2 aftershock was reported 11 minutes later, centred roughly in the same area.

“It was a pretty good shaker here,” said David Adams, co-manager of Marine View Bed and Breakfast in Sand Point.

“We’re doing OK.”

He said all guests were accounted for and “the structure itself is sound.”

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