A major, shallow earthquake off the Alaskan peninsula late Wednesday prompted tsunami warnings for much of the Gulf of Alaska coastline. A tsunami watch issued for Hawaii was later cancelled.
The United States Geological Survey said the 8.2 quake hit 56 miles southeast of the tiny town of Perryville, at a depth of about 21 miles. Perryville is about 500 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska’s biggest city. There were no warnings issued for Anchorage.
“This event was felt throughout the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak,” the Alaska Earthquake Center tweeted.
“This is the largest earthquake to happen in the Alaska region since 1965,” said Michael West, state seismologist with the center.
The Alaska Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management tweeted that Alaska’s Emergency Operations Center was activated and was reporting evacuations in parts of communities in the tsunami warning area, including Kodiak and Homer.
Alaska is part of the seismically active “Pacific Ring of Fire,” Agence France-Presse points out.
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake caused tsunami waves at Alaska’s southern coast in October, AFP said, but there were no casualties reported.
Alaska was hit by the strongest shaker ever recorded in North America in March 1964, a 9.2-magnitude quake. “It devastated Anchorage and unleashed a tsunami that slammed the Gulf of Alaska, the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii,” AFP said. More than 250 people were killed by the quake and tsunami.