Tsunami warning after magnitude 8.2 quake hits Alaska Peninsula

July 29, 2021: A shallow earthquake of magnitude 8.2 has struck the Alaska Peninsula, prompting Tsunami warnings across the Pacific Ocean.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake, which struck at 10:15pm (06:15 GMT Thursday), was at a depth of 35km.

In Alaska, the National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) issued warnings for the southern part of the state, the Peninsula, and Pacific coastal areas, from Hinchinbrook Entrance to Unimack Pass.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) also issued a warning for the US state of Hawaii and the US Pacific territory of Guam.

“Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter,” PTWC said.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Meteorological Agency is investigating whether a tsunami is expected in Japan. 

Authorities in New Zealand also said they were assessing whether there was a threat to coastal areas.

Videos posted on social media by journalists and residents in Kodiak, the main city on Alaska’s Kodiak island, showed people driving away from the coast as warning sirens could be heard.

The NTWC said that it was also evaluating the level of tsunami danger for other US and Canadian Pacific coastal areas. Five aftershocks were recorded within 90 minutes of the earthquake, the largest with a magnitude of 6.2, according to the USGS.

Alaska is part of the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire. The state was hit by a 9.2-magnitude earthquake in March 1964, the strongest ever recorded in North America. It devastated the capital Anchorage and unleashed a tsunami that slammed the Gulf of Alaska, the US west coast, and Hawaii. More than 250 people were killed by the quake and the tsunami.

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake also caused tsunami waves in Alaska’s southern coast in October, but no casualties were reported.

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