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UPDATE 2 — 7.7-magnitude quake strikes Canadian island, tsunami warnings issued

VANCOUVER (BNO NEWS) -- A powerful and shallow earthquake struck the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia on Saturday evening, seismologists and witnesses said, prompting a tsunami warning for coastlines in Canada and Alaska. It was not immediately known if a tsunami was generated.

The 7.7-magnitude earthquake at 8:04 p.m. local time (0304 GMT Sunday) was centered on Moresby Island in the Queen Charlotte Islands, or about 199 kilometers (124 miles) south-southwest of the Canadian port city of Prince Rupert. It struck about 17.5 kilometers (10.9 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

It was not immediately known if a tsunami was generated, but the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning due to the size of the earthquake. The warning is in effect for the coastal areas of British Columbia and Alaska from the northern tip of Vancouver Island, B.C. to Cape Decision, Alaska.

"Tsunami warnings mean that a tsunami with significant widespread inundation is imminent, expected or occurring," the center said in a bulletin. "Warnings indicate that widespread dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents is possible and may continue for several hours after the initial wave arrival."

The initial earthquake was followed by an aftershock about ten minutes later, at 8:14 p.m. local time (0314 GMT Sunday), according to the USGS. It said the aftershock, which had a preliminary magnitude of 5.8, was centered just off Moresby Island. It struck at a depth of approximately 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

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