7.8 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Off Coast of Alaska, Triggers Tsunami Warning

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A high-powered earthquake with a 7.8 magnitude struck off the coast of Alaska on Tuesday evening, triggering a tsunami warning that was later called off.

According to data from the US Geological Survey, the earthquake struck late Tuesday evening at 10:12 p.m. local time and was centered 65 miles south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska at a depth of 17 miles.

A tsunami warning that was issued for South Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands was later called off early Wednesday morning about two hours after the quake, according to the Tsunami Warning Center.

"No reports of any damage,” Kodiak Police Sgt. Mike Sorter told the Associated Press on Wednesday. "No injuries were reported. Everything is nominal."

The National Tsunami Warning Center called off the warning in a statement, reading, "A tsunami was generated by this event, but no longer poses a threat." The center added that some areas may still see some sea-level change occur and noted that people should not return to hazard zones until local officials denote them as safe.

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"This is a very significant earthquake in size,” said Michael West, state seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Center, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

He added that the earthquake was "something like 15 times more energy than was released in the 2018 Anchorage earthquake," but noted that since it happened offshore, there was much less shaking recorded.

According to the publication, West added that the type of earthquake that occurred on Tuesday was typical for the southern coast of Alaska, before noting that it was also the same style "more or less" as the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964.

“These are the style of earthquakes which can be very tsunami-producing,” West said.

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Per the report, tsunami warning sirens sounded Tuesday night in the Alaskan city of Kodiak, and residents headed to high ground, with the local high school opening its doors for evacuees, as well as a local Catholic school. The publication also notes that a local public radio station reminded evacuees to carry masks with them amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"We’ve got a high school full of people. I’ve been passing out masks since the first siren sounded," Larry LeDoux, superintendent of the Kodiak School District, told the outlet. "Everything’s as calm as can be. We’ve got probably 300, 400 people all wearing masks."

LeDoux added that the sirens and evacuations were nothing out of the ordinary for someone who grew up in Kodiak, sharing, "I’ve been doing these since I was a little kid. Old news."