The National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, has issued tsunami warnings for a large area along the Alaska Peninsula coastline, after an earthquake near the coast.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck about 62 miles southeast of Sand Point at 12:54 p.m. The epicenter is roughly 575 miles southwest of Anchorage. The size of the quake was originally reported to have been a magnitude of 7.4, but has been revised to a 7.5.
Mon Oct 19 21:02:37 UTC 2020 event picture pic.twitter.com/XvUPn6bXsY
— NWS Tsunami Alerts (@NWS_NTWC) October 19, 2020
The warning extended from Kennedy Entrance, 40 miles southwest of Homer, to Unimak Pass, but the warnings do not include Cook Inlet or Anchorage. The National Tsunami Warning Center said the tsunami warning was in effect for roughly 950 miles (1,529 kilometers), from 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Homer to Unimak Pass, about 80 miles (129 km) northeast of Unalaska.
Raynelle Gardner, a secretary at Sand Point School in the Aleutians East Borough School District is in the middle of the evacuation zone, and told reporters that she and the other employees are seeking higher ground.
— National Weather Service (@NWS) October 19, 2020
Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey said that while they may not happen all the time, quakes are expected to happen in this area from time to time.
“This is an area where the Pacific Plate is subducting underneath the North American Plate. And because of that, the Pacific Plate actually goes underneath the North American Plate, where it melts,” Caruso told the Associated Press, adding that volcanoes add to the trouble.
“And so we commonly have large, magnitude 7 earthquakes in that area,” Caruso said.
Monday’s earthquake was an aftershock of the 7.8 earthquake that struck the same area in July, State Seismologist Michael West told Anchorage Daily News. 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.
Luckily, no damage or injuries have been reported thus far.