Big Quake Off Southern Alaska Coast Causes Tsunami

Jan 5, 2013
Originally published on January 5, 2013 1:12 pm

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 hit off the coast of southeastern Alaska just before midnight local time Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS initially reported the event as a magnitude 7.7 quake.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says sea level readings indicate the quake caused a tsunami. "It may have been destructive along coasts near the earthquake epicenter," a NOAA report said.

A tsunami warning was put in effect for the coastal areas along southern Alaska and British Columbia. All warnings and advisories were later canceled.

An earlier NOAA report said "widespread dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents is possible and may continue for many hours after tsunami arrival." There is also an interactive map of the tsunami alerts.

We'll continue updating the post as more information comes in.

Update at 6:15 a.m. ET. Tsunami Warnings Canceled:

NOAA has canceled all tsunami warnings for the coasts along Alaska and British Columbia. The agency reports that while some areas may still see small changes in sea levels, the tsunami generated by the earthquake "no longer poses a threat."

Update at 5:21 a.m. ET. The Stranded Oil Rig:

While the extent of the damage is still unknown, also in question are the effects the quake will have on the oil rig that ran aground near Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska earlier this week. As the Alaska Dispatch reports:

"Also on the list for a potential bump in wave height is the area surrounding Kodiak Island, where the Shell drill rig Kulluk has been grounded in shallow water off the coast of the nearby Sitkalidak Island since New Year's Eve. It was not immediately clear what, if any, effect such increased wave [activity] could have on the stranded drill unit. The estimated arrival time for Kodiak Island was 2:36 a.m."

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