, WASHINGTON, Oct 28 – An earthquake off the west coast of Canada has triggered a tsunami that is headed toward the US state of Hawaii, The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center announced early on Sunday.
“A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along the coastline of all islands in the state of Hawaii,” the centre warned.
The centre said “urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property.”
The expected arrival time of the tsunami is 10:28pm local time Saturday (0828 GMT Sunday).
The announcement came after a major 7.7 magnitude earthquake shook the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of Canada late Saturday.
The epicentre of the tremor, which occurred at 8:04 pm (0304 GMT Sunday) was located 139 kilometres (86 miles) south of the town of Masset, the US Geological Survey said.
Numerous aftershocks, some as large as magnitude 4.6, followed the initial quake, Canadian officials reported.
The regional West Coast-Alaska Tsunami Warning Center also issued a regional warning for coasts located near the epicentre of the earthquake.
Emergency officials in British Columbia said a small tsunami had been recorded on a deep ocean pressure sensor, but its effect was not immediately known.
The officials urged residents in low-lying coastal areas to be alert to instructions from local officials and be prepared to move to higher ground.
“The tsunami alarm went off and everybody went to the evacuation site,” Danny Escott, owner of the Escott Sportfishing lodge near Massett, told AFP by telephone.
Natural Resources Canada said in a statement that the temblor was felt across much of north-central British Columbia, including Haida Gwaii as the Queen Charlotte Islands are otherwise called, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Houston.
“There have been no reports of damage at this time,” the ministry added.
However, experts said tremors exceeding magnitude 7.0 were extremely dangerous.