Tsunami warnings canceled after magnitude-7.9 earthquake off Alaska

Forecasters canceled tsunami warnings for Alaska and the US and Canadian west coasts Tuesday after an earthquake in t...

Posted: Jan 24, 2018 5:14 AM
Updated: Jan 24, 2018 5:14 AM

Forecasters canceled tsunami warnings for Alaska and the US and Canadian west coasts Tuesday after an earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska stoked fears of damaging waves.

The tsunami alerts were canceled "because additional information and analysis have better defined the threat," said the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

Type of quake and its location helped minimize damage

More than 60 aftershocks follow

Small tsunami waves of less than 1 foot were reported in Alaska, the center said.

The minor tsunami was triggered by a magnitude-7.9 earthquake that struck shortly after midnight. It was centered about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak, at a depth of 15 miles, the US Geological Survey said.

The temblor was followed by at least 45 aftershocks of 3.0 or greater.

Although the tsunami warnings were canceled, San Francisco officials warned residents to stay away from coastlines. About mid-morning, the dangerous-currents advisory from the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management was canceled.

'Whole town is evacuating'

Nathaniel Moore was on a commercial fishing boat in Kodiak when the quake hit. He said he felt it "shake really good for a minute." He and others on the vessel quickly got to shore and headed for higher ground amid the tsunami warning.

"The whole town is evacuating," he told CNN.

Tsunami sirens sounded in Kodiak, and police warned: "This is not a drill."

Though the tsunami warnings and evacuation calls were canceled, schools in Kodiak canceled classes after campuses opened overnight as emergency shelters, the district announced via Facebook.

Wendy Bliss Snipes described the quake as "a slow roller, so it was felt for at least a minute before the real rolling started. Nothing fell off the walls, and I didn't have to wake my kiddo."

Heather Rand, who was in Anchorage, told CNN that the earthquake felt like the longest 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. She reported no damage besides cracks in the drywall.

Why this wasn't a lot worse

Both the earthquake and tsunami could have been much worse. Two key factors helped minimize damage.

First, the quake's center was under the ocean, helping prevent catastrophic damage to structures on land.

Second, the quake resulted from a strike-slip fault -- meaning pressure built up as two plates moved horizontally, CNN senior meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

That's a lot less dangerous than a thrust fault, which happens when a plate displaces vertically.

"These are the quakes that produce the large tsunamis," Hennen said, such as the devastating 2011 quake and tsunami that killed more than 20,000 people in Japan.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly attribute a quotation from an Alaska resident.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
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Hancock7849132
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Monroe7068179
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Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847659

Reported Deaths: 16172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163752005
Mobile743371381
Madison53434738
Shelby38413371
Baldwin38171589
Tuscaloosa36131643
Montgomery34571782
Lee25664264
Calhoun22622519
Morgan22527408
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Marshall18821318
Houston17769426
St. Clair16946359
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Cullman16140305
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15055307
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DeKalb13061271
Walker12138380
Blount10765193
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Jackson10204195
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Dale9038192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell710165
Chilton7078170
Covington6967197
Escambia6962144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5795142
Marion5435130
Dallas5302210
Pike5128109
Clarke485686
Lawrence4845130
Winston4785110
Geneva4650136
Bibb435495
Barbour370180
Butler3444101
Marengo342793
Monroe338366
Randolph337767
Pickens334790
Fayette331485
Henry321066
Cherokee319964
Hale318889
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252069
Macon245767
Conecuh193562
Coosa185847
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Lowndes178268
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Perry141840
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Greene130345
Choctaw94328
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