Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chilean Tsunami Animation

After many, many years of absolute quiet the Pacific Ocean has been alive with tsunami activity the last few years. The last major tsunami that took lives and caused significant property damage in Hawaii originated with the 1960 9.5 earthquake off the coast of Chile. Waves from that event were up to 35 feet high in Hilo at a time when technology was not as advanced as today.

The 8.2 magnitude quake that struck near Iquique, Chile on Tues, and the 7.6 tembler that struck in the same region yesterday both generated tsunamis. Luckily for everyone outside of the immediate quake area the waves were relatively small. But even these events will roil the entire Pacific basin for hours and hours and create dangerous currents. In Hawaii local officials closed all beaches until about noon on Wednesday to avoid having to rescue the unaware.

The short animation below, produced by the US NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) shows quite clearly what happens when the earth moves suddenly like this beneath the ocean surface. The best thing you can ever, ever do if you are near an ocean beach area and feel a strong earthquake, is to pick yourself up and get as far upland as you can as quickly as you can. Waves from the Chile quake hit shorelines within 5 minutes of this event. You don't have time to think! Just run as fast as you can!

Best viewed at the highest (HD) rate your connection will allow.

And the neighborhood has been quite active with aftershocks, including a 7.6 and many 6.0+ shakers since. Having been thru a 6.7 and a 6.0 in rapid succession myself I know how frazzled a persons nerves get after these things... and how long it takes for a body to settle back down. Large earthquakes are downright terrifying.

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