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Tsunami warning lifted after 7.9 magnitude earthquake off Alaska

January 23, 2018

A tsunami warning and alert was lifted early Tuesday morning for the west coast, this after a large earthquake shook the Gulf of Alaska.

A 7.9 magnitude quake rocked the Gulf of Alaska just after midnight, about 175 southeast of Kodiak and a depth of 15 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Waves of less than 1 foot were reported, the National Tsunami Warning Center, located in Alaska, said.

The Center also issued recommended actions in the event of a tsunami:

  • Actions to protect human life and property will vary within tsunami advisory areas. If you are in a tsunami advisory area.
  • Move out of the water, off the beach, and away from harbors, marinas, breakwaters, bays and inlets.
  • Be alert to and follow instructions from your local emergency officials because they may have more detailed or specific information for your location.
  • If you feel a strong earthquake or extended ground rolling take immediate protective actions such as moving inland and/or uphill preferably by foot.
  • Boat operators: Where time and conditions permit, move your boat out to sea to a depth of at least 180 feet; if at sea avoid entering shallow water, harbors, marinas, bays, and inlets to avoid floating and submerged debris and strong currents.
  • Do not go to the shore to observe the tsunami.
  • Do not return to the coast until local emergency officials indicate it is safe to do so.

The Center also described potential impacts:

  • A tsunami with strong waves and currents is possible.
  • Waves and currents can drown or injure people who are in the water.
  • Currents at beaches and in harbors, marinas bays, and inlets may be especially dangerous.
  • Some impacts may continue for many hours to days after arrival of the first wave.
  • The first wave may not be the largest so later waves may be larger.
  • Each wave may last 5 to 45 minutes as a wave encroaches and recedes.
  • Coasts facing all directions are threatened because the waves can wrap around islands and headlands and into bays.
  • Strong shaking or rolling of the ground indicates an earthquake has occurred and a tsunami may be imminent.
  • A rapidly receding or receded shoreline, unusual waves and sounds, and strong currents are signs of a tsunami.
  • The tsunami may appear as water moving rapidly out to sea, a gentle rising tide like flood with no breaking wave, as a series of breaking waves, or a frothy wall of water.