Earthquake sparks evacuation

2013-01-06 08:02


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Anchorage - A powerful earthquake measuring 7.5 magnitude struck a remote corner of the Pacific Coast off Alaska's panhandle, triggering a tsunami warning that prompted evacuations early on Saturday in the seaside borough of Sitka, but no severe damage or injuries were reported.

The quake was centred about 100km southwest of Port Alexander, a town near the southern tip of Baranof Island, at a depth of 10km, and occurred just before midnight local time, according to the US Geological Survey.

A tsunami warning was issued for coastal areas of southeastern Alaska and Canada's British Columbia. Residents in low-lying areas of Sitka, Alaska's fourth-largest city by population with some 8 900 inhabitants, moved to higher ground as a precaution until the advisory was cancelled.

A tidal wave about 10cm high was measured at Sitka but passed without reports of damage, said scientist Bill Knight of the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre.

An earthquake of magnitude 7.7 struck British Columbia on 27 October. A tsunami warning was issued but no damage occurred.

Large quakes are fairly common in and around Alaska, one of the most seismically active parts of the United States.

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