Quake triggers warning in Aleutian Islands but no tsunami

Sep 2, 2011

"This is not a drill! Get out of here!"

UNALASKA, Alaska – Residents of southern Alaska awoke this morning to a major earthquake. It triggered a tsunami warning near the Aleutian Islands. But no damage has been reported and there was no tsunami.

For the second time this summer, residents of the Aleutian Islands evacuated for a tsunami warning. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit just before 3 a.m. near Amutka Pass. The 4,000-person community Unalaska lies about 200 miles away from the epicenter, and a wave was expected to hit the there just after 4 am.

Jorel Burkholder and his fiancée were among those woken from their beds.

"I didn't know if it was sirens. I was lying in my bed for about ten minutes and I finally looked outside. The cop cars were flying by. The big loud speaker was, 'This is not a drill! Get out of here!' I went to higher ground. I knew the drill. I woke her up and she was mad at me and we got out of dodge,” Burkholder said.

Residents were able to return home when an all-clear was given at 4:12 am. According to the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, no destructive wave was recorded and the region is no longer in danger.

Five aftershocks did occur in the hour following the quake, but none powerful enough to trigger another tsunami warning.