No tsunami danger after 5.0 quake in British Columbia

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake that struck more than 60 miles northwest of Haines won't trigger a tsunami, the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, said. (Screengrab from the National Weather Service)

A screen capture from the National Weather Service website shows where a 5.0-magnitude earthquake struck on Saturday. The National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer said it wouldn’t trigger a tsunami.

About 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Juneau residents may have felt little more than a slight shake.

That’s because a 5.0 magnitude earthquake near Kelsall Lake, British Columbia, which is about 60 miles northwest of Haines, struck at a depth of 3 miles.

Dave Nanney has owned and operated the Chilkat Eagle Bed and Breakfast for almost 20 years in Haines. He said at first, it felt like a heavy equipment driving by.

“Sometimes the big machines rumble, and it feels like a tremor,” Nanney said. “It was very subtle.”

He said there were about three shocks.

According to the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, a quake of that size isn’t going to make a tsunami.

“It’s just not nearly big enough, even though we got reports as far away as Juneau that it was felt,” said Chris Popham, a senior tsunami specialist with the National Tsunami Warning Center.

A quake would need to be significantly larger and closer to the coast to trigger a tsunami warning.

“We’d be issuing a warning for a 7.1 , but for a 5.1, 5.0 or so that’s a thousand times less energy,” Popham said. “This quake would have needed to be a thousand times bigger – and honestly it would have needed to be a lot closer to the coast to issue a warning.”

Popham said a 7.0 would need to be within about 30 miles of the coast for the center to issue a warning. Today’s earthquake was too far away and far too weak for a warning.

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