Great Earthquake SE of Chignik Prompts Tsunami Warnings, but No Damage
The strongest earthquake to strike not only Alaska, but all of North America in the last 56 years prompted a tsunami warning and an evacuation of the Homer Spit and other low-lying areas of Homer and Kachemak Bay last night around 10:30 p.m.
The cause was another large earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska, 75 miles southeast of Chignik, but this one, with a magnitude of 8.2, far exceeded two others in the recent past. Like the others, only small tsunami waves were observed.
A small wave of one foot was forecast to arrive in Homer at 1:15 a.m. this (Thu) morning, but the warning was cancelled at around 12:45 a.m. A wave of three-quarters of a foot was observed in Old Harbor, on the south end of Kodiak Island.
KBBI volunteer Cris Sommers-Frye and her husband were on their fishing boat Saturn tendering in King Cove when the earthquake struck. She said they watched as the Peter Pan cannery was evacuated and other boats headed for deep water.
“They made sure that they got all their workers on buses and went up above you know, wherever the tsunami line is,” she said. “And all the boats all left the Harbor.”
Sommers-Frye said they decided to stay in port, but had a vehicle ready if they needed to go to high ground. She said the quake was reminiscent of one they rode out decades ago.
“My husband and I were on a boat here, oh, probably I'm going to say 30 years ago, there was an earthquake and we felt it. We were on the boat and we felt the boat just vibrate, you know? I mean we looked at each other and went, what? And then, pretty soon, the sirens started going off,” she said. “And this time we, you know, we felt the vibration and we looked up and thought that feels a lot like the earthquake that we felt here that long ago.”
Sommers-Frye reported seeing the King Cove fleet returning to port about the same time the tsunami warning was lifted in Homer and all along the North Gulf Coast.