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'Strong' earthquake hits Southwest Alaska coast

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GOLDEN, Colorado -- A "strong" undersea earthquake of 6.7 magnitude rattled Alaska's southwest coast Wednesday, authorities said, but no significant damage or tidal wave threat was reported.

The quake struck at 7:03 a.m. local time, centered 65 miles (105 kilometers) southwest of Kodiak Island, Alaska, or 330 miles (531 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, and was felt across the region, according to the National Earthquake Information Center.

"It's considered a strong earthquake, and, in a populated area, you would expect significant damage, but this part of Alaska is not heavily populated," said John Bellini, a geophysicist at the center, located in Golden, Colorado. He had no word of any aftershocks.

The West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, measured the quake at 6.9 and pinpointed it at 20 miles below the sea floor.

Residents reported homes shaking as far away as Anchorage as well as in smaller coastal cities like Perryville and King Salmon on the Alaskan Peninsula.

"The ground trembled. I was still at home at the time, and the blinds rattled and windows shook," said Paul Smith, assistant to the chief of police in Kodiak city, on the sparsely populated island in the Gulf of Alaska.

Alaska typically sees a half-dozen quakes each year above magnitude 6. Wednesday's tremor was the strongest since a magnitude 7 in the same waters off Kodiak in December 1999, said geophysicist Paul Whitmore at the tsunami warning center.

"We did not feel it here, but there were reports in Anchorage and down in Seward," Whitmore said.

The tsunami center issues tidal wave warnings after coastal quakes measuring 7.1 or higher, Whitmore said. Wednesday's quake was expected to produce aftershocks, most likely within 30 miles of the epicenter.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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RELATED SITES:
USGS National Earthquake Information Center: Earthquake Information for the World
West Coast & Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

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