7.2-Magnitude Earthquake Near Alaska Peninsula Triggers Brief Tsunami Warning
Late Saturday night, a strong 7.2-magnitude earthquake near Alaska Peninsula triggers brief tsunami warning, approximately 55 miles southwest of Sand Point, Alaska. The quake, initially reported as a 7.4 magnitude by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), occurred at around 10:48 p.m. local time, shaking the region and triggering concerns of a potential tsunami.
The quake struck about 55 miles southwest of Sand Point, Alaska- National Weather Service (NWS)
7.2 earthquake triggers tsunami warning in Alaska
Kodiak, Alaska, felt the impact of the quake, as sirens blared through the night. A video shared on social media captured the unsettling sound, reflecting the immediate aftermath of the seismic event. Residents were on high alert as the National Weather Service (NWS) in Anchorage issued a brief tsunami warning, emphasizing the risk of "significant inundation."
A tsunami was generated by this event, but no longer poses a threat. Some areas may continue to see small sea level changes.- National Weather Service (NWS) National Tsunami Warning Center
Fortunately, the warning was later downgraded to an advisory and ultimately canceled early Sunday morning. The NWS National Tsunami Warning Center assured the public that while a tsunami had been generated, the threat had passed. However, some coastal areas might experience minor sea level fluctuations.
During the initial advisory, the NWS Anchorage office urged residents near the coast to swiftly evacuate, cautioning them to "move off the beach and out of harbors and marinas." The time frame for potential tsunami waves extended approximately 90 minutes, spanning from Chignik Bay to Unimak Pass.
Hawaii, on the other hand, was not under any tsunami threat, as confirmed by the state's Management Agency.
The earthquake took place along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone, a known seismic hotspot prone to significant tremors. USGS officials, while summarizing the event, noted that since 1900, there have been nine other earthquakes of magnitude 7 or greater within a 250 km radius of the July 16, 2023, incident.
One notable event in the area's history occurred on April 1, 1946, when an 8.6-magnitude quake struck approximately 93 miles away. This powerful tremor triggered a devastating tsunami, which wiped out the lighthouse on Unimak Island and tragically claimed the lives of its five occupants. The resulting tsunamis caused further destruction, resulting in 159 fatalities in Hawaii and one in California.
Officials also highlighted the seismic significance of a 9.2-magnitude earthquake that occurred in the Alaska-Aleutian Trench on March 27, 1964. It stands as the second-largest earthquake ever recorded by modern seismic instrumentation.
As the affected region recovers from the recent quake, authorities and experts continue to monitor the situation closely. The Alaska Peninsula's susceptibility to earthquakes serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for preparedness and resilience in areas prone to seismic activity.