By Sara Shayanian – Texas Tribune
A powerful magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook the Gulf of Alaska early Tuesday, leading to a tsunami watch along the West Coast from Washington to California.
The quake struck at 4:31 a.m. EST about 330 miles off the Alaskan coast, southeast of Kodiak Island — the result of a strike slip faulting within the shallow lithosphere of the Pacific plate, the United States Geological Survey said.
A tsunami warning was issued for Alaska’s coasts and British Columbia in Canada, according to the National Weather Service, which warned Alaskans through a text message, “Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland.”
“If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground,” the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management said. “Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is possible or is already occurring. Tsunamis are a series of waves dangerous many hours after initial arrival time. The first wave may not be the largest.”
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned residents that waves generated by the earthquake could be destructive “far from the epicenter.”
The earliest wave reached Kodiak, Alaska, with warning sirens sounding over the town and local police department. Police said shortly afterward that no waves had hit so far.
Tsunami forecasts projected waves reaching Washington’s coasts early Tuesday morning.
In San Francisco, the department of emergency management warnedresidents within three blocks of the Pacific coast or within 5 blocks of the San Francisco Bay to “prepare to evacuate.”
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.