Residents in South Alaska and the Alaska Peninsula have now been urged to flee the area and find higher ground. A tsunami is expected to hit at different points along the coast within the next hour.
Sand Point, also known as Popof Island, could be hit first at 11.15pm local time (8.15am BST), Kodiak at 12.05am (9.05am) and Cold Bay at 12.15am (9.15am). If the earthquake is not downgraded, it will be the strongest of the year so far. It took place at a depth of six miles (10 km), the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences reports.
The warning said “hazardous waves” are possible along coasts within 300km of the epicentre.
It said “persons caught in the water of a tsunami may drown, be crushed by debris in the water or be swept out to sea”.
It read: “Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, hazardous tsunami waves are possible for coasts located within 300km of the earthquake epicentre.”
The National Weather Service tweeted: “Impacts to the California coast are still being evaluated by the Tsunami Warning Center.”