A strong 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the northwestern US state of Alaska late Thursday. The US Geological Survey (USGS) later downgraded it to a 7.2 magnitude quake. The quake hit at 03:09:40 UTC and was located at 52.008°N, 171.859°W with a depth of 62.6 kilometres (km) or 38.9 miles. The epicentre was 162 km (101 miles) east (97°) from Atka; 228 km (142 miles) southwest (244°) from Nikolski; 328 km (204 miles) east (86°) from Adak; and 1681 km (1045 miles) southwest (243°) from Anchorage.
A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook Alaska's Aleutian Islands late on Thursday, triggering a tsunami warning that sent people heading for high ground before the alert was cancelled. Hundreds of people fled the coast on foot, drove or rode in the back of pickup trucks after the earthquake struck 130km northeast of the seafood port of Dutch Harbour, home to some 4,400 people. The temblor struck at 03:09 GMT, triggering a tsunami warning from the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre (WCATWC). Sirens rang out, officials ordered people to move to at least 15m above sea level, and fishing boats could be seen steaming out of the harbour as a precaution in case waves struck the coast line. "Those feeling the earth shake, seeing unusual wave action or the water level rising or receding may have only a few minutes before the tsunami arrival and should move immediately," warned the WCATWC. "Homes and small buildings are not designed to withstand tsunami impacts.WATCH: Television report about the earthquake.
Do not stay in these structures," officials warned. But about an hour later it was all over. "We've confirmed that no wave has been generated", acting public safety director Matt Betzen said at 04:21 GMT. "We're giving the all-clear." The US Geological Survey (USGS) originally reported the quake as a huge 7.4-magnitude, but downgraded it in subsequent hours to 7.3 and eventually 7.2. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries along the remote island chain. Fire engines and police cars drove up and down the hillsides telling residents it was safe to return to their homes. USGS said the earthquake was at a depth of 62km, and struck more than 1 600km west of the major Alaskan city of Anchorage. A pair of moderate aftershocks shook the Aleutian Islands early on Friday. - News 24.