JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Several schools on the Kenai Peninsula Borough in Alaska were evacuated following a 7.5 earthquake Monday from the Alaska Peninsula.
The quake struck at the North Pacific Ocean before 1 p.m.
Tsunami warnings have since been canceled or downgraded to advisories. Public security officials in King Cove, a neighborhood close to the epicenter, earlier sent an alert telling residents from the coastal area to go inland to high ground.
A tsunami advisory means a tsunami capable of generating strong currents or waves dangerous to persons in or very close to the water is anticipated or occurring. But areas from the advisory shouldn’t anticipate widespread inundation.
Tsunami warnings have been continued for Washington state, and communities on the Kenai Peninsula for example for the town of Seward and Resurrection Bay communities, and also for Homer and the coastal areas of Kachemak Bay, such as Seldovia, Port Graham, Nanwalek, and Kachemak Selo. There is not any tsunami warning in effect for the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
The tsunami warnings were issued from the National Tsunami Warning Center following the earthquake centered about 67 miles southeast of Sand Point. The neighborhood is about 800 miles south of Anchorage.
The size of the quake was originally reported to have been a size of 7.4, however, was revised to a 7.5, stated Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He said an earthquake of this magnitude, within this area, isn’t a surprise.
“This is a place where the Pacific Plate is subducting underneath the North American Plate. And because of that, the Pacific Plate goes underneath the North American Plate, where it melts,” Caruso said, imagining that’s why there are volcanoes in the region. “And therefore we commonly have large, size 7 earthquakes in that region.”
The warning center said the quake was widely felt in communities along the southern shore, including Sand Point, Chignik, Unalaska and the Kenai Peninsula. The Alaska Earthquake Center said a magnitude 5.2 aftershock was reported 11 minutes afterwards, centered roughly in the same location.
“This was a pretty good shaker here,” said David Adams, co-manager of Marine View Bed and Breakfast in Sand Point. “We are doing OK.” He explained all guests were accounted for and”the structure itself is sound.”
“You could see the water kind of vibration and shimmering during the quake,” he said. “Our truck was swaying big time.” He didn’t take any pictures or video:”It just kind of happened of a sudden.”
Rita Tungul, front desk assistant in the Grand Aleutian Hotel in Unalaska, said she felt some vibration, but it was not strong. Her co-worker did not feel the quake at all, she explained.
Connie Newton, owner of the Bearfoot Inn, a grocery store, liquor store and small hotel in Cold Bay, said the temblor it felt as though someone drove into her construction with a truck. However, nothing dropped to the ground and she suffered no damage because she earthquake-proofed her shops by installing 2-inch risers around the outside of her selves.