Washington — A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck off the Alaskan peninsula on Wednesday morning, triggering a tsunami warning for areas within 300km of the epicentre.

The shallow quake hit at 6.12am GMT Wednesday about 800km southwest of Anchorage, the US Geological Survey said.

“Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters ... hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300km of the earthquake epicentre,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.

A tsunami warning was in effect for the Alaskan peninsula and south Alaska. Residents in tsunami warning areas were advised to move inland or to higher ground.

“For other US and Canadian Pacific coasts in North America, the level of tsunami danger is being evaluated.”

The quake was felt hundreds of kilometres away.

“Bed and curtains were going. Felt like a very long quake!” one witness in Homer, Alaska, about 640km from the epicentre, said on the quake monitoring website msc-csem.org.

It was followed by several aftershocks, the strongest measuring 5.7.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The tremor appeared to be a subduction zone quake, where two tectonic plates converge, a seismologist said.

“It's the interface, the plate boundary between where the Pacific plate thrusts underneath North America. A very standard type of earthquake in this area,” Mike West from the Alaska Volcano Observatory told Alaska Public Media.

Alaska is part of the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire.

The US state was hit by a 9.2-magnitude earthquake in March 1964, the strongest recorded in North America to date. It devastated Anchorage and unleashed a tsunami that slammed the Gulf of Alaska, the US west coast and Hawaii.

More than 250 people were killed by the quake and the tsunami.


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