A 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck off Alaska’s Kodiak Island early Tuesday, prompting a tsunami warning for a large swath of the state’s coast and Canada’s British Columbia, and watches for the rest of the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii. Officials at the National Tsunami Center canceled the warning after a few tense hours after waves failed to show up in coastal Alaska communities. No serious damage had been reported.
The strong earthquake hit at 12:30 a.m. and was recorded about 170 miles southeast of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska. Kodiak Island is located about 200 miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, which was not under a tsunami threat. Reports varied about how long the shaking lasted. In the popular cruise ship town of Seward, about 230 miles northeast of Kodiak Island, fire chief Eddie Athey said the quake felt like a gentle rattle and lasted for up to 90 seconds.
“It went on long enough that you start thinking to yourself, ‘Boy, I hope this stops soon because it’s just getting worse,'” Athey said.
Initially, the USGS said the earthquake was a magnitude 8.2. That prompted the tsunami warning for coastal Alaska and Canada’s British Columbia, while the remainder of the U.S. West Coast was under a watch.
A tsunami warning for the southern coastline of Alaska — from the Aleutian Islands to Southeast Alaska — was downgraded to a tsunami advisory for the coastline east of Seward to Chignik Bay. It was later canceled, CBS Anchorage affiliate KTVA-TV reported.
Watches were canceled for Washington, Oregon, California, British Columbia and Hawaii. Officials in Japan also said there was no tsunami threat there.