Update: Tsunami warning and advisories cancelled along coast of British Columbia following strong earthquake off southeast coast of Alaska early Saturday.
A tsunami was generated by the 7.5 magnitude quake, which hit at 1 a.m. PST, but the waves did not pose a threat, the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said.
The quake was followed by several aftershocks, including a 5.2 quake felt in southeastern Alaska and British Columbia.
The centre said some areas saw small sea level changes, but no widespread destructive waves.
The warning area had included coastal areas from Cape Fairweather, Alaska, to the north tip of Vancouver Island. The area extended for more than 1,125 kilometres.
A maximum tsunami height of about half a foot was recorded at Port Alexander, Alaska, the centre said.
The earthquake was the result of a “shallow strike-slip faulting on or near the plate boundary between the Pacific and North America plates,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement.
“At the location of this earthquake, the Pacific plate is moving approximately northwestward with respect to the North America plate at a velocity of 51 mm a year.”
The region has experienced eight earthquakes of magnitude 6 or higher in the past 40 years.
"Initially, in the first 15 to 20 minutes, there might have been a bit of panic," Sitka Police Chief Sheldon Schmitt told The Associated Press in a phone interview. But he said things calmed down as the town waited for the all clear.
The temblor was centred about 95 kilometres west of Craig, Alaska, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
"Houses shook; mine had things tossed from (the) wall," Craig Police Chief Robert Ely said. But he added that there were "no reports of any injuries, no wave, no tidal movement seen."
"It was the most intense earthquake I've felt in my 10 years here. I'm pretty sure there was stuff falling off of shelves," Chief Schmitt said. "There is no report of any wave activity here."
He said that an evacuation sirens and announcements came shortly after the quake, prompting the temporary rush to higher ground.
Some people in Craig also moved to safer territory.
"Several citizens elected on their own to move to higher ground. Several locations in Craig were set up for staging (and) shelter," said Chief Ely, adding that "no evacuation was ordered."
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JUNEAU, Alaska - A tsunami warning is in effect for parts of southern Alaska and coastal Canada after a strong earthquake shook the region at midnight Friday.
The warning area includes coastal areas from about 75 miles (120 kilometres) southeast of Cordova, Alaska, to the north tip of Vancouver Island, Canada, the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said. The warning area extends for about 475 miles (765 kilometres).
The magnitude 7.5 quake struck at midnight Friday (1 a.m. PST Saturday) and was centred about 60 miles (95 kilometres) west of Craig, Alaska, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
A tsunami with a "significant widespread inundation of land is expected," the centre said in a statement.
The first wave was expected around 1:15 a.m. (2:15 a.m. PST) in Craig, and 2:50 a.m. in Cordova, further to the north.
The centre said widespread dangerous coastal flooding is possible.
In addition to the warning, a tsunami advisory is in effect for coastal Alaska from Cape Suckling to 75 miles (120 kilometres) southeast of Cordova and from the Washington state border to the tip of Vancouver Island.
A tsunami warning means an area is likely to be hit by a wave, while an advisory means there may be strong currents, but that widespread inundation is not expected to occur.
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