Earthquake measuring 7.5 strikes off southeastern Alaska

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 05, 2013 4:25 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake measuring 7.5 magnitude struck a remote corner of the Pacific Coast off Alaska's panhandle, triggering a tsunami warning that prompted evacuations early Saturday in the seaside borough of Sitka, but no severe damage or injuries were reported.

The quake was centered about 60 miles southwest of Port Alexander, a town near the southern tip of Baranof Island, at a depth of 6 miles, and occurred just before midnight local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A tsunami warning was issued for coastal areas of southeastern Alaska and Canada's British Columbia. Residents in low-lying areas of Sitka, Alaska's fourth-largest city by population with some 8,900 inhabitants, moved to higher ground as a precaution until the advisory was cancelled.

A tidal wave about 4 inches high was measured at Sitka but passed without reports of damage, said scientist Bill Knight of the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.

An earthquake of magnitude 7.7 struck British Columbia on October 27. A tsunami warning was issued but no damage occurred.

Large quakes are fairly common in and around Alaska, one of the most seismically active parts of the United States.

(Reporting by Yereth Rosen; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Eric Beech)