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A swarm of earthquakes, some powerful, strikes off the islands of Alaska


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – A swarm of earthquakes was recorded Tuesday off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, including the largest of 6.8 magnitude followed by aftershocks.

Officials said there were few reports of underwater earthquakes in the North Pacific that were felt by residents in nearby communities in a sparsely populated area of ​​Alaska, and there were no reports of damage.

The earthquakes were “a very unusual, very vibrant swarm of earthquakes,” said Natalia Robert, a seismologist at the Alaska Seismological Center.

The largest earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.8, was preceded by a few minutes by a few earthquakes. The strong earthquake occurred at approximately 2:36 a.m., about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Nikolsky, a community of 39 residents on Unmack Island, Alaska. The community is located 900 miles (1,448 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, the state’s largest city.

About an hour later, aftershocks of magnitude 6.6 were reported in the same area, followed over the course of the morning by about a dozen aftershocks of magnitude 4.0 or higher.

Jeremy Zedek, a spokesman for Alaska’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said state emergency officials checked in with both Nikolsky and Onalaska, home to Dutch Harbor, one of the nation’s busiest commercial fishing ports, after the two larger earthquakes.

Neither community reported any damage, and in fact those in Onalaska—which is located about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of the epicenter—didn’t feel it either.

This area of ​​the Aleutian Islands, a chain of islands that juts off southwest Alaska, has seen a lot of seismic activity in the past year, including several large earthquakes, Zedek said.

He said none of them caused any major damage or tsunami.

“We don’t want people to be complacent just because there were strong earthquakes and they didn’t cause tsunamis,” Zedek said. “This does not mean that the next strong earthquake will not happen.”

He warned that if the community activates a tsunami siren or if the earthquake causes violent shaking for 20 seconds or more and you’re near a coastal area, “it’s time to head to higher ground.”

Copyright © Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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