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Jan 5, 2013 - 1:07:04 PM

Magnitude 7.5 Quake In Southeast Triggers Tsunami Warning For Alaska Coast

By Alaska Dispatch
Jan 5, 2013 - 11:06:17 AM


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A magnitude 7.7 earthquake exploded off the southeast coast of Alaska just south of Juneau setting off a tsunami warning that stretched from the coast of British Columbia all the way up the Southeastern Pandhandle to Cape Fairweather, about 80 miles southeast of Yakutat. Most warnings were cancelled by the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center sometime after.

Some coastal areas in Hawaii could experience small non-destructive sea level changes and strong or unusual currents lasting up to several hours. The estimated time such effects might begin was at 4:28 AM (HST).

Tsunami advisories were briefly in place from the Washington state and Canadian border to the Kennedy Entrance, 40 miles southwest of Homer, but those advisories were cancelled shortly before 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Also cancelled was the portion of the warning in effect north of Cape Fairweather stretching to Cape Suckling, 75 miles southeast of Cordova.

Another magnitude 4.7 quake also occurred in the same area just before 12:30 a.m. Saturday, with a 4.2 aftershock following shortly after.

An employee contacted at the Sitka Police Department at 1:14 a.m. -- about a half-hour after the tsunami was estimated to arrive in that community -- said that they hadn't yet gotten any news of increased wave activity, but people were evacuating to higher ground and that the tsunami warning sirens had gone off in the community.

The city of Craig, Alaska tweeted just before 1 a.m. that evacuation was voluntary, and the community's school and gym had been opened to the public. At 1:44 a.m., the city account tweeted that "evacuation points are standing down. Please continue to be aware of aftershocks that may occur."

A small tsunami was observed in the community of Port Alexander shortly after 1 a.m., the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center reported. That wave height was only a half-foot above the norm. Sitka experienced an even smaller wave.

The center warned that some areas may continue to see small sea level changes for several hours.

"A tsunami was generated during this event but no longer poses a threat," the center reported.

Also briefly on the list for a potential bump in wave height was the area surrounding Kodiak Island, where the Shell drill rig Kulluk has been grounded in shallow water off the coast of the nearby Sitkalidak Island since New Year's Eve.

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