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Earthquake triggers tsunami warning along Alaska, Canadian coastlines


A 7.5 magnitude earthquake near Craig, Alaska struck about midnight local time on Jan. 5, 2012, prompting a tsunami warning and residents to prepare for evacuation.

Nearly 700 miles of American and Canadian coastline came under tsunami warning overnight after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck, but the waves never amounted to much more than a ripple.

The center was about 60 miles west of Craig, Alaska, and the quake came about midnight local time, The Associated Press reported.

"It was the most intense earthquake I've felt in my 10 years here. I'm pretty sure there was stuff falling off of shelves," Sitka Police Chief Sheldon Schmitt told the AP.

Those living between Cape Fairweather, Alaska, and Vancouver Island, Canada, came under the tsunami warning.

The Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said after the temblor hit that “significant widespread inundation of land is expected” along with potentially dangerous flooding.

A short time later – with just six inches of sea level change in some areas – it said the “tsunami was generated during this event but no longer poses a threat.”

That didn’t mean residents weren’t aware of the danger, CTV News said.

More from GlobalPost: Earthquake rocks Anchorage, Alaska

Carol Kulesha, mayor of Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii island in Canada, said some residents headed for higher ground while local officials established staging areas to speed evacuation if needed.

Her windows rattled and her dishes started to shake.

“That lasted after I woke up for another half a minute, so I knew we had an earthquake and that’s usually followed by a tsunami warning,” Kulesha said this morning.

The quake originated six miles deep in the Pacific Ocean, Reuters reported.

The US Geological Survey originally estimated it at 7.7, but downgraded it to 7.5.

This is the second such quake in the last few months near there.

In late October, a 7.7 temblor hit near Vancouver Island, but there were no reports of damage.

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