Earthquake in parts of Alaska, Canada

An earthquake of 7.5 magnitude and a tsunami warning caused concern in some coastal communities in some parts Alaska and Canada with alarms sounding and people rushing to higher ground for safety.

But the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center later said the waves were too small to pose a threat, reaching just six inches above normal sea level in places such as Sitka and Port Alexander.

“Initially, in the first 15 to 20 minutes, there might have been a bit of panic,” Sitka Police Chief Sheldon Schmitt told The Associated Press over the phone interview. But he said things calmed down as the town waited for the all clear.

The temblor struck at midnight Friday and was centered about 60 miles west of Craig, Alaska, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

“Houses shook; mine had things tossed from (the) wall,” Craig Police Chief Robert Ely said. But he added that there were “no reports of any injuries, no wave, no tidal movement seen.”

The center had warned that “significant widespread inundation of land is expected,” adding that dangerous coastal flooding was possible.

The Alaska Earthquake Information Center said the quake was widely felt but it received no reports of any damage.

“Several citizens elected on their own to move to higher ground. Several locations in Craig were set up for staging (and) shelter,” said Chief Ely, adding that no evacuation was ordered.

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