Massive Quake Off Alaska Prompts Tsunami Warning

(Reuters) -

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit the Gulf of Alaska in the early hours of Tuesday, prompting authorities to warn people in the area to move away from the coast in case it causes a tsunami.

The quake hit 157 miles southeast of Chiniak, Alaska, at a depth of 6 miles at 0431 EST, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

“If you are located in this coastal area, move inland to higher ground. Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant inundation is possible or is already occurring,” Anchorage Office of Emergency Management said in a warning for Alaska and British Columbia.

Tsunami warnings for parts of Alaska and Canada and a tsunami watch for the entire U.S. west coast and Hawaii were issued.

“Based on all available data a tsunami may have been generated by this earthquake that could be destructive on coastal areas even far from the epicenter,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

Japan’s meteorological agency said it was monitoring the situation but did not issue a tsunami alert at that time.

Later on Tuesday tsunami watches were canceled for British Columbia in Canada, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. Officials in Japan say now there is no tsunami threat there. The alert was canceled after waves failed to show up in coastal Alaska communities.