Philippines: 7.6-magnitude earthquake strikes off coast

A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the Philippines early this morning, causing a small tsunami and the death of at least one person, USA Today reported.

The tsunami prompted "an urgent call for people to move to higher ground," CNN reported. However, he impact from the quake was less severe than the worst that had been feared, causing only "negligible tsunami surges," according to the Associated Press. Power was out in several towns and cities in the Philippines, though was beginning to be restored on Friday, the AP reported.

According to the US Geological Survey, the quake occurred about 20 miles deep and struck just before 8:50 p.m. local time. The center was about 65 miles southeast of the town of Guiuan, in the Philippine province of East Samar. Though earlier reports had the earthquake's magnitude at 7.9, USGS revised that figure down to 7.6. 

Ben Evardone, a Samar congressman, told reporters via text message, "Strong earthquake here in Taft, Eastern Samar! And it lasted very long too!"

According to CNN, the large quake initially prompted a tsunami warning for parts of Indonesia, Philippines, Belau, Yap, Taiwan, Japan, Guam, N. Marianas, Papua New Guinea, with a tsunami watch is in for Chuuk, Marcus Island, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Marshall Island, Wake Island, Solomon Island, Russia and Nauru.

All of the tsunami alerts covering areas mentioned in the initial warnings have now been canceled, Reuters reported.

At 9:25 a.m. the USGS issued this warning:

"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."

At 11:03 a.m. Reuters reported that according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, sea level readings "confirm that a tsunami was generated" from the Philippines earthquake, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has calculated the approximate arrival time of the tsunami.