Sophie Hirsh
Updated Jan 23, 2018 @ 10:20 am

Early Tuesday morning, January 23rd, an earthquake hit parts of Alaska and the west coast of the United States and Canada. Authorities promptly issued a tsunami warning for a large stretch of the West Coast. Four hours later, they canceled the warning, stating, “additional information and analysis have better defined the threat,” according to the National Tsunami Warning Center. No casualties have been reported.

Alaska-based research geologist Peter J. Haeussler spoke with the New York Times to share why he thought the warning was canceled. He explained that the earthquake most likely occurred “at a point where it bends as it starts to slide under the continent.” This would have made the direction of the earthquake horizontal, and therefore less likely to cause a major tsunami.

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake was felt by residents all over the state. “It was a very long, slow build up. Creepy, more than anything. Definitely the longest, and I was born here,” Heather Rand, who was in Anchorage, Alaska, told CNN.

After the earthquake struck, tsunami sirens began to sound in Kodiak, Alaska, according to the Times. Authorities advised residents to evacuate to somewhere further inland, above ground, and especially away from bodies of water. But just four hours later, as residents were already fleeing their homes, the tsunami was deemed to no longer be a threat, and officials canceled the warning.

The tsunami warning was also issued and subsequently canceled in San Francisco. However, officials still warned residents to stay away from bodies of water, as there could be unpredictable currents.

Many Alaska residents took to Twitter to share their experience.

One person shared a video of a base evacuation, and viewers can clearly hear alarms.

Photos also emerged of people gathered at emergency centers.

Others shared messages to notify friends that they were safe.

Some people expressed genuine fear.

While some dealt with their feelings through humor.


We hope everyone in Alaska and on the West Coast stays safe.