Tsunami Warning in Effect for Parts of Alaska After 8.2 Magnitude Earthquake

A huge earthquake that hit off the coast of Alaska was the biggest the U.S. has seen in decades, prompting evacuations amid tsunami concerns.

The magnitude 8.2 quake occurred at around 6:15 a.m. UTC, or 10:15 p.m. local time and 2:15 a.m. EDT.

It struck at a depth of around 20 miles, 75 miles southeast of Chignik, Alaska.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning system had issued a tsunami warning for South Alaska and the Alaksa Peninsula, Pacific coasts from Hinchinbrook Entrance, Alaska (90 miles E of Seward) to Unimak Pass, Alaska (80 miles NE of Unalaska).

There was also a warning for the Aleutian Islands from Unimak Pass to Samalga Pass, Alaska (30 miles SW of Nikolski).

However, the tsunami warning system no longer showed any warnings as of 6 a.m. EDT and an update issued at 5:30 a.m. EDT stated a tsunami advisory was canceled for the coastal areas of South Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands.

Craig Ceecee, a meteorologist at Mississippi State University, earlier said a buoy southwest of Kodiak had seen "serious changes" in water height suggesting a tsunami was active.

A buoy SW of Kodiak has seen serious changes in water height and disturbances. That suggests that a #tsunami is likely active. We don't know how bad it will be for coastal communities yet though. #earthquake pic.twitter.com/g78gXQ3DN4

— Craig Ceecee (@CC_StormWatch) July 29, 2021

Meanwhile reports had come in from people who said they were nearby. One Twitter user said they "sure as hell" felt the quake in Soldotna and experienced "long rolling earthquake waves."

Another said they felt it in Kenai and noticed their door swinging back and forth.

I sure as hell felt the Earthquake here in Soldotna.

Long rolling earthquake waves. Very unsettling. I was actually getting a little seasick.

— Michael Wilson (@bigmike_ak) July 29, 2021

8.1 earthquake out in the Aleutians. Felt it slightly in Kenai. Could have confused it for being dizzy if not for the door swinging back and forth.

— Cece (@plutoisaplanet3) July 29, 2021

A 6.1 earthquake aftershock was also thought to have hit the Perryville area.

Michael West, Alaska state seismologist, said the 8.2 quake was the largest earthquake to happen in Alaska region since 1965.

He told Newsweek: "Alaska produces the vast majority of the nation's magnitude 7+ earthquakes, roughly 80 percent. The majority of these do occur in coastal regions because of the geologic process of subduction.

"Geologically speaking they are a normal part of plate tectonics. However, on human timescales they do not happen very often. This is the largest earthquake in the US since the 1964 (magnitude 9.2) and the 1965 (magnitude 8.7) earthquakes that also occurred in Alaska.

"It is fair to say that after having many tsunamis in the early part of the 20th century, Alaska has had a 50+ year hiatus in large tsunamis with casualties. However the rest of this evening plays out it is a reminder of what these rare but massive earthquakes can do."

Update 7/29/21 6:55 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with new information from the U.S. tsunami warning system and a comment from Michael West, Alaska state seismologist.

alaska earthquake
A stock image shows the Adak Island of the Aleutian Islands. A tsunami warning was in effect in the area. Getty Images