Israeli soldiers in recent tsunami drill in A
Israeli soldiers in recent tsunami drill in AReuters

A tsunami warning was issued to residents of southern Alaska following a 7.7-magnitude earthquake that shook western Canada overnight Saturday night -- 5:04 a.m. Israel time -- in the area of the Queen Charlotte Islands. 

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also issued a warning for Hawaii, which remains in effect until 7:00 pm Sunday. A small craft advisory is in effect until Sunday morning.

The epicenter of the earthquake struck at a depth of 11.8 miles beneath the surface, 25 miles south of Sandspit, British Columbia. The U.S. Geological Survey said the temblor was followed several minutes later by a 5.8-magnitude aftershock. More aftershocks have since followed, according to the Toronto Star, but no damage has been reported and no one has been hurt.

Coastal areas of southern Alaska are being warned by the U.S. National Weather Service and the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center to be on alert for high waves. The warning is in effect for an area starting from Cape Decision, Alaska 85 miles southeast of Sitka, to the north tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

An advisory was added for points south to Oregon and the California coast, 80 miles northwest of San Francisco, but Santa Barbara authorities reassured residents in a statement saying there was no immediate threat, according to The Independent.

USGS seismologist Lucy Jones said the earthquake had occurred along a 200-kilometer-long fault. She explained one of the earth's plates had slipped under another, lifting the sea floor in the process.

The first wave – not expected to be the largest – was expected to be only about one foot higher than normal and to hit sometime around 10:00 p.m. local time.