Strong aftershocks follow earthquake in distant island region of Alaska; no tsunami danger

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Strong aftershocks shake Alaska island region

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A series of strong aftershocks in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands region Sunday followed a powerful earthquake that shook the remote area, but officials said there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

There also was no threat of a tsunami from any of the quakes.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the initial 6.7-magnitude temblor struck at 9:56 p.m. Saturday and was centered in the Bering Sea about 155 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor. The quake hit about 21 miles beneath the seabed.

USGS geophysicist Rafael Abreu said there were at least 11 aftershocks, including one occurring at 11:48 a.m. Sunday that had a 5.8 preliminary magnitude. He said that magnitude was still under review and could change.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center showed a 6.2 magnitude for the same aftershock, which was felt in the tiny community of Nikolski, about 115 miles southwest of Dutch Harbor.

The initial, 6.7-magnitude earthquake was felt in both Dutch Harbor and nearby Unalaska, the nearest communities of any size to the epicenter.

Police in Unalaska, situated just across a bay from Dutch Harbor, said they had no reports of damage or injury.

“About 10 residents said they did feel the quake and they could tell it was sizable,” police communications officer Megan Gosda told The Associated Press.

“We get earthquakes out here fairly often, so we noticed it was definitely one of the bigger ones, but it was no big deal,” she said.

USGS geophysicist Jessica Sigala said earlier that residents of the Dutch Harbor reported feeling a “weak shaking” from the quake.

A magnitude 6 quake is capable of causing severe damage.

The quake, though in a fairly remote area, was one of the largest in recent years in Alaska, the country’s most seismically active region.

A 5.0-magnitude temblor shook Anchorage and other communities in southcentral Alaska 10 days ago but caused no damage. In May, two quakes measuring about 6.0-magnitude rumbled under the Bering Sea off Alaska but were too far from land to be felt.

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