September 19, 2021

Alaska Hit By Earthquake and Tsunami Warning Issued

The USGS is reporting that a magnitude 7.1 earthquake has hit Alaska along the Aleutian Islands chain of islands and lists the exact location as having these coordinates: 51.807°N, 171.477°W.

Tsunami Warning Issued

A tsunami warning has been issued by the NOAA National Weather Service West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, which can be found here (PDF).

Alaska Earthquake - Magnitude 7.1

Alaska Earthquake - Magnitude 7.1

Estimated arrival times of the tsunami are listed here(Text File).

This area is very remote and the earthquake hit 125 miles from the nearest populated area, but a tsunami could possibly cause flooding in the area, or in other coastal areas of the Pacific Ocean.

Map of Earthquake Location

View Larger Map

Oil Drilling and Pipeline Damage

There are no reports of any damage to oil or natural gas drilling operations or the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, but such damage could prove to be a major ecological disaster if the pipeline was ruptured or if a drilling platform was damaged and spilled any oil.

Offshore oil drilling and exploration, as well as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), is currently banned under a moratorium, so the potential for an earthquake or tsunami to damage oil and gas production infrastructure is mitigated by this factor, somewhat.

USGS Study on Arctic Drilling Safety

The L.A. Times recently reported on the scientific uncertainties surrounding oil exploration off the shorelines of Alaska, spotlighting a 292-page report released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGA) at the end of June.

USGS Study on Arctic Drilling Safety

The USGA’s report highlights the uncertainties of recent climate change, the impact on the area’s ecosystem and the long-term impact of Arctic development in the area. The report did not include many answers, according to the Times, but was seen as a way to jump-start the conversation with the parties involved in Arctic drilling. The oil industry released its own report in 2010, with Shell Alaska providing an assessment based on their own experiences in the area. In March of 2011, environmental groups released their own report, questioning the gaps in knowledge about Arctic drilling.|