The 7.9 magnitude temblor generated a roughly 7.5-inch tsunami that washed onto Amchitka Island, part of the Aleutian chain.
The entire population of Adak, about 200 miles to the east of the epicenter, evacuated to an emergency shelter on higher ground after water suddenly began to drain out of their bay.
But no other significant changes in sea level were detected, and a regional tsunami warning was soon lifted.
The director of the Alaska Earthquake Center said his staff felt the quake in Fairbanks, more than 1,500 miles from the epicenter.
“Oh, we felt it,” said Mike West. “We felt it in length, in duration and in intensity. We were sitting there for about 20 seconds, then we went outside and it kept going and going and going,” he told reporters.
The quake struck very near Shemya Island, where the U.S. military operates Eareckson Air Station. It serves mainly as an early warning radar installation, but officials said there was no damage to the facility.