7.5 magnitude quake off Alaska prompts tsunami warning

Anchorage Daily News

Anchorage, Alaska – A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck in the North Pacific Ocean Monday afternoon, triggering a tsunami warning along the Alaska Peninsula Coast.

The quake struck about 62 miles southeast of Sand Point at 12:54 p.m. local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The area is about 575 miles southwest of Anchorage.

The earthquake triggered a tsunami warning for areas along the Alaska Peninsula coastline, according to the U.S. Tsunami Warning Center.

A tsunami warning has been issued following a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck in the North Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Alaska Peninsula. (Dreamstime/TNS)

The warning extended from Kennedy Entrance, 40 miles southwest of Homer, to Unimak Pass, 80 miles northeast of Unalaska.

The warning does not include Cook Inlet or Anchorage, according to the warning center.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

Tsunami arrival times were estimated for Sand Point at 1:55 p.m., Cold Bay at 2:45 p.m. and Kodiak at 2:50 p.m., according to an alert from the National Weather Service.

No wave had been reported in Sand Point as of 2:30 p.m., though the warning remained in effect and people had moved to high ground.

The earthquake was felt in coastal communities across the region.

“It was a pretty good ride – I couldn’t tell you for how long – maybe 15-30 seconds,” said Michael Ashley of Cold Bay. “All the couches, recliners and bookcases were moving around, and I had to pretty much hold one of them up.”

In Sand Point, Patrick Mayer, superintendent of Aleutians East Borough School District, was visiting Sand Point School when the earthquake hit. He described it as lasting about 30-45 seconds.

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

The school is a designated tsunami evacuation point for the town, and its school bus evacuated workers from the Trident Seafoods processing plant. About the time the tsunami was expected to arrive, he said there was no wave in sight.

“We haven’t been able to identify any structural damage at this point, and we don’t believe there is any,” he said.

Monday’s earthquake was an aftershock of the 7.8 earthquake that struck the same area in July, said State Seismologist Michael West. The earthquake triggered a number of its own aftershocks shortly after, ranging from 3.5 to 5.9 magnitude. West said additional aftershocks will continue in the area for days after.

Tsunami sirens were reported going off at Kodiak around 1:30 p.m.

King Cove city administrator Gary Hennigh said the quake was felt in the Alaska Peninsula community, but everything seemed to be intact.

“Residents and cannery workers are evacuating to higher ground until we know more about the tsunami warning,” Hennigh said.