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Alaskans Seek Higher Ground After Earthquake

Tsunami warning is issued for 950-mile path
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2020 6:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Southern Alaska was under a tsunami warning Monday after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck near the peninsula. An aftershock followed about 20 minutes later, with a magnitude of 5.8, NBC reports. The first earthquake was near Sand Point in the Shumagin Islands. No damage was reported, per the Anchorage Daily News, but the quake was felt along the southern coast. "It was a pretty good shaker here,” said a manager of a bed and breakfast in Sand Point. "You could see the water kind of shaking and shimmering during the quake. Our truck was swaying big time."

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The National Weather Service issued a tsunami warning, then downgraded it to an advisory for the Pacific coasts, a 950-mile stretch from Kennedy Entrance to Unimak Pass. Some schools evacuated and sent students to higher ground as sirens went off, per the AP. Officials in King Cove and Homer urged residents to move out of areas that could flood. A geophysicist with the US Geological Survey said earthquakes of similar magnitude are common in the region. "This is an area where the Pacific Plate is subducting underneath the North American Plate," he said. "And because of that, the Pacific Plate actually goes underneath the North American Plate, where it melts." (Read more Alaska stories.)

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