Massive Earthquake Off Alaskan Coast Sparks Tsunami Warning

posted by Bill Galluccio -

Tsunami watches and warnings for the entire West Coast have been canceled, and residents who were forced to evacuate are returning home. The tsunami alerts were triggered after a massive earthquake struck about 175 miles off the Alaskan coast overnight. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 8.2, but was later downgraded by the U.S. Geological Survey to 7.9. 

Residents of Kodiak, Alaska were jolted awake by the blaring warning sirens and told by authorities to head for ground at least 100 feet above sea level, according to The Sun. They also received phone alerts which read: "Emergency Alert. Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland."

Kodiak Police Lieutenant Tim Putney told ABC News the earthquake "was the strongest, longest lasting one I've ever felt." Anchorage, fire chief Eddie Athey, estimated the quake lasted around 90 seconds.

There are no reports of damage from the earthquake and the tsunami never materialized. 

A tsunami watch is automatically generated by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center after an earthquake registers 7.5 on Richter scale.  A tsunami warning is issued once there is evidence that a tsunami has formed.

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