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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Tsunami warnings after 7.9 earthquake strikes off Alaska coast

Authorities urged coast dwellers to seek safety.

The location of a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that occurred at a depth of 10km at 09:31 GMT, 278km off south east of the city of Kodiak, Alaska. USGS / EPA
The location of a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that occurred at a depth of 10km at 09:31 GMT, 278km off south east of the city of Kodiak, Alaska. USGS / EPA

A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.9 struck off the coast of Alaska early on Tuesday, prompting tsunami warnings or watches as far away as California.

The quake struck in the Gulf of Alaska, 280 kilometres southeast of the town of Kodiak, the US Geological Survey said, revising a preliminary estimate of 8.2 magnitude. The epicentre was 10 kilometres under the seabed.

Tsunami warnings were issued for south and southeast Alaska and the west coast of Canada, the National Tsunami Warning Centre said.

Less-ominous tsunami watches were issued for the US west coast - the entire coasts of California and Oregon and part of Washington state - and Hawaii out in the Pacific.

Heather Rand, who was 360 miles away in Anchorage, told CNN it felt like the longest earthquake she had ever experienced.

"It was a very long, slow build up. Creepy, more than anything. Definitely the longest, and I was born here," Rand said, adding the only damage was cracks in the wall.

In Alaska, authorities urged coast dwellers to seek safety.

"If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground," the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management said.

"Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is possible or is already occurring. Tsunamis are a series of waves dangerous many hours after initial arrival time. The first wave may not be the largest."

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