A van backs down the road as Tofino, British Columbia, residents and visitors flood out of the community center after the tsunami warning ends, on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. A tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia was canceled Tuesday morning after people living along parts of the province's coast evacuated to higher ground when a powerful earthquake struck off Alaska. (Melissa Renwick/The Canadian Press via AP)

A huge, 7.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Alaska early Tuesday morning prompted federal officials to call a tsunami watch for the entire West Coast, including California.

The quake occurred at 1:35 am Pacific time, about 170 miles south of Kodiak, Alaska when an undersea fault ruptured. Officials at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska issued a tsunami warning for the Alaska coastline and a tsunami watch for California, Oregon and Washington. About three hours later, they cancelled the warning and watch, saying that buoys and tide gauges along Alaska and British Columbia coastal towns were showing only about eight inches of sea level rise.

The event rattled nerves along the California coast, however.

In Santa Cruz County, employees at the Santa Cruz Harbor woke up boaters in the middle of the night. Seven years ago, a tidal surge after the Fukushima earthquake in Japan plowed into the Santa Cruz Harbor, wrecking boats, flipping over docks and causing $25 million in damage. It also killed a man in Crescent City, near the Oregon border.

Early Tuesday morning, Santa Cruz Harbor employees shut down the fuel pumps and were taking other precautions when they got the all clear.

“People were pretty relieved,” said …read more

Source:: East Bay – Science

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