British Columbia Hit by a 7.7 Magnitude Earthquake

October 29, 2012; 5:29 AM
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A powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the west coast of British Columbia on Saturday about 8 p.m. local time.

The earthquake produced at least four tsunami waves that reached Hawaii several hours later, prompting many to seek higher ground.

The earthquake was located about 395 miles to the south-southeast of Juneau. The epicenter was at a focal depth of 10.9 miles, in the Queen Charlotte Islands.

This earthquake location map is courtesy of the USGS.

Reports of damage in the area are minimal, as the islands are only inhabited by about 5,000 people.

The tsunami generated by the earthquake that struck the coast of British Columbia and nearby islands was relatively small, with a 69 cm (2.3 ft.) wave reported off Langara Island.

A 55 cm (1.9 ft.) wave was also reported at Winter Harbour on northern Vancouver Island. Tsunami alerts, to warn of a potential water rise, were issued as far south as northern California and Hawaii.

More than 100,000 people in Hawaii were evacuated to higher ground prior to the tsunami's arrival. A few hours after the initial quake, the leading edge of the tsunami reached the Hawaiian Islands. Most locations on the northeast coast of Hawaii reported a rise in the water level of only 1 to 2 feet, which was less than expected.

All advisories have since been dropped along the west coast of North America.

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