An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 struck Monday about 15 miles from Little Sitkin Island, Alaska. The earthquake had a depth of 71 miles, according to seismologists.
The Alaska earthquake set off a tsunami warning, but it generated only a small wave. The earthquake occurred about 12:53 p.m. local time with officials sending out the initial tsunami warnings for coastal areas from Nikolski to Attu, along with the Pribilof Islands to the north, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
The National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, issued a tsunami warning for a portion of the Aleutians stretching from Nikolski to Attu. “Widespread dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents are possible and may continue for hours after tsunami arrival,” the NTWC bulletin said.
The tsunami warning was downgraded to an advisory a couple of hours after it struck, and the advisory was canceled by 4:45 p.m.
Jeff Freymueller, with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, told the Daily News that the observatory monitored seismic activity in the Aleutians following the earthquake for any evidence that it triggered “earthquake swarms.” He said there was no evidence of volcanic activity tied to the earthquake as of Monday afternoon.
While it’s “certainly possible that you could have volcanic activity triggered” by earthquake swarms, the AVO is monitoring the area mostly to avoid being “taken by surprise that we may see a change,” Freymueller said.
On Monday afternoon, the AVO hadn’t seen any indications of volcanic activity possibly due to the earthquake, he said.
Aftershocks were occurring in the area Monday afternoon, Natasha Ruppert, seismologist at the Alaska Earthquake Information Center said. “We expect there will be quite a few.”
An aftershock of magnitude 6.0 struck the same area around 1:11 p.m., while a magnitude-5.9 quake followed at 1:30, according to the USGS. By 3 p.m., seven earthquakes of magnitude 3.7 or higher had occurred in the area.
There were no reports of damage or injuries.
The last major U.S. quake, a 7.9 tremor near Alaska’s Denali National Park, occurred Nov. 3, 2002.
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