On Monday, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Aleutian Islands near Alaska. Reports say that the earthquake struck at 12:53 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time. The earthquake was followed by aftershocks – the first one with a 6.0 magnitude and the second one with a 5.8 magnitude, both occurring several minutes after the quake.
Four hours after the main earthquake, another 6.9 magnitude aftershock hit the area.
The strong earthquake prompted evacuations and tsunami warnings. However, the warning was later downgraded, as experts ruled out the possibility of a destructive tsunami. According to the National Weather Service, small waves have already appeared in some locations in Alaska, but none of them was more than 0.6 feet high.
Tsunami warnings have been downgraded to advisories after a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Alaska earlier this afternoon pic.twitter.com/dfKxBPN83t
— Kevin Jeanes (@KevinJeanes) June 24, 2014
City Manager Layton Locket said that residents of the island know what to do when strong earthquakes hit the area. “When there’s a significant earthquake such as this, we have a tsunami siren similar to a tornado alarm. It just blares,” he said. When residents hear the siren, they know that they must head to safety.
The town of Adak evacuated around 150 residents to an area located 600 feet above sea level. There were no reports of damage in Shemya Island and Adak, reports say.
Adak has about 130 permanent residents and 80 contractors. Locket said that having a small population is advantageous in these types of situations. “Everybody knows everybody, so if you don’t see somebody, you can call them real quick or go get them,” he said.
Based on the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center’s reports, the earthquake was too deep to affect Hawaii. They also ruled out Washington, Oregon, and California from the tsunami risk.
In 1946, the Aleutian Islands were hit with large earthquakes that caused a large tsunami that claimed the lives of 96 people in Hawaii. That incident prompted the founding of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
Image via YouTube