8.2 Earthquake Strikes Alaska, Panicked Residents Flee Fearing Tsunami


Misty Fjord Shoreline, Alaska

Photo: Getty Images

Alaska was hit by its strongest earthquake since 1964 on Wednesday (July 28), which sent residents fleeing in fear of a possible tsunami.

CNN reports an 8.2 magnitude earthquake was located about 56 miles (91 kilometers) southeast of Perryville at around 10:15 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"This event was felt throughout the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak," the Alaska Earthquake Center said via CNN.

The earthquake was considered shallow at 29 miles deep and resulted in at least two strong aftershocks, which included a preliminary magnitude 6.2 and magnitude 5.6, the USGS confirmed.

In an email sent to CNN Thursday (July 29) morning, Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson confirmed that the earthquake was the strongest since the 9.2 magnitude earthquake on Prince William Sound in March 28, 1964 -- the largest recorded earthquake in U.S. history since 1900 -- and led to evacuations.

"We are now all clear and anxiously awaited for any announcement about a wave hitting (our) island," Branson said. "The Emergency Operations Council was up and working monitoring and informing the public of any updates. Citizens did (evacuate).

"This was the strongest earthquake since 1964 and our 3rd evacuation in 18 months. But we are all good and grateful now."

The National Tsunami Warning Center confirmed a tsunami warning was issued for portions of Alaska shortly after the earthquake took place, but has since been canceled for areas of South Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands.

"A tsunami was generated by this event, but no longer poses a threat," the center said via CNN.

Residents in Kodiak, the largest town on the island of Kodiak, were advised by local authorities to seek higher ground and told that the local high school was open as an evacuation location after the earthquake took place.

The Kodiak Police Department sent out alerts during the earthquake, which later turned into advisories, noting, "Kodiak has been downgraded to Tsunami Advisory status however we are not all clear," CNN reports.

Kodiak Island, which is 3,588 square miles, is the largest island in the state of Alaska and the second-largest in the U.S. trailing only Hawaii Island.