Massive 8.2 magnitude earthquake off US coast sparks major tsunami warning

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A huge earthquake marking 8.2 on the Richter scale has been recorded off the US coast.

The authorities issued a tsunami soon after the tremor was recorded off the coast of Perryville, Alaska, around 91km east-southeast.

The United States Geological Survey reported that the quake was recorded at 6.15GMT, with its epicentre located at a depth of 3.4km (2.11 miles).

National Weather Service Seattle, which monitors the weather in the northern US state of Washington more than 1,600 miles away from where the earthquake struck, tweeted: "The tsunami threat for the west coast is still being evaluated.

"There is NO watch/warning/advisory for the Washington coast at this time. Stay tuned."

Officials as far away as New Zealand are assessing the tsunami threat.

New Zealand's National Emergency Management Agency tweeted: "We are assessing whether the M8.1 ALASKA PENINSULA earthquake poses any tsunami threat to New Zealand.

"If a tsunami has been generated it is not likely to arrive in New Zealand for at least 12 hours hours."

Residents in coastal areas are being urged to flee to higher ground.

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An alert sent to people's phones said: "The National Weather Service has issued a TSUNAMI WARNING. A series of powerful waves and strong currents may impact coasts near you.

"You are in danger. Get away from coastal waters.

"Move to higher ground or inland now. Keep away from the coast until local officials say it is safe to return."

Based on the preliminary seismic data, the quake would have been widely felt by almost everyone in the area of the epicentre.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System issued a tsunami warning for the U.S. Pacific territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

It struck at 10.15pm local time on Wednesday night.

Aftershocks of 6.2 and 5.6 have been recorded, according to the US Geological Survey.

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