Major Earthquake Strikes Alaska Near Kodiak Island

Tofino residents and visitors leave the community center after the tsunami warning ends in Tofino, British Columbia. // Photo by Melissa Renwick/The Canadian Press via AP, Newscred

A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Alaska just south of Kodiak Island late Tuesday evening. The earthquake caused several tsunami warnings and advisories to be issued for parts of Alaska, British Columbia, the South Pacific and Hawaii, which have since been discontinued. 

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that the earthquake was centered southeast of Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska, a geologically active area that has seen approximately 11 other earthquakes over 7 in magnitude on the Richter scale over the past century.

According to the National Tsunami Warning Center, the earthquake generated a small tsunami ranging from 0.4 ft to 0.7 ft in maximum height in Kodiak, Seward, Old Harbor, Sitka, and Yakutat, Alaska, as well as Langara, British Columbia. The Warning Center recommends that people in the area do not reoccupy the hazard zones until local officials indicate that it is safe to do so. Tsunami watches were also issued for Hawaii and parts of the South Pacific, but these have since been cancelled.

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On its Facebook page, Discover Kodiak Island, the island’s tourism bureau, reports that residents in low-lying areas were evacuated as a result of the earthquake. As of 4 a.m. local time when the tsunami warning was downgraded to an advisory, all residents were safe.

“Great job by the local law enforcement for making sure everyone was evacuating, radio keeping us updated, schools & churches for providing shelters,” Discover Kodiak Island wrote. “Great community effort!”

Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska is known for its hiking and outdoor recreation activities, as well as the largest brown bears in the world.

CBS reports that, thus far, the local police department has not received any reports of damage. Travel Agent has reached out to local tourism officials for more information and will post an update at www.travelagentcentral.com when we learn more.

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