Eight Point Earthquake strikes Chile, causes Pacific Tsunami
TOKYO (Feb. 28) - The tsunami from Chile's deadly earthquake hit Japan's main islands and the shores of Russia on Sunday, but the smaller-than-expected waves prompted the lifting of a Pacific-wide alert. Hawaii and other Pacific islands were also spared.
In Japan, where hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated from shorelines, the biggest wave following the magnitude-8.8 quake off Chile hit the northern island of Hokkaido. There were no immediate reports of damage from the four-foot wave, though some piers were briefly flooded.
As it crossed the Pacific, the tsunami dealt populated areas - including the U.S. state of Hawaii - only a glancing blow.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii issued a warning for 53 nations and territories, but lifted it Sunday, though some countries were keeping their own watches in place as a precaution.
The tsunami raised fears the Pacific could fall victim to the type of devastating waves that killed 230,000 people in the Indian Ocean in 2004 the morning after Christmas. During that disaster, there was little-to-no warning and much confusion about the impending waves.
Officials said the opposite occurred after the Chile quake: They overstated their predictions of the size of the waves and the threat.
"We expected the waves to be bigger in Hawaii, maybe about 50 percent bigger than they actually were," said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist for the warning center. "We'll be looking at that."
Japan, fearing the tsunami could gain force as it moved closer, put all of its eastern coastline on tsunami alert and ordered hundreds of thousands of residents in low-lying areas to seek higher ground as waves generated by the Chilean earthquake raced across the Pacific at hundreds of miles (kilometers) per hour.
Japan is particularly sensitive to the tsunami threat.
In July 1993 a tsunami triggered by a major earthquake off Japan's northern coast killed more than 200 people on the small island of Okushiri. A stronger quake near Chile in 1960 created a tsunami that killed about 140 people in Japan.
Towns along northern coasts issued evacuation orders to 400,000 residents, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said. NHK switched to emergency mode, broadcasting a map with the areas in most danger and repeatedly urging caution.
As the wave continued its expansion across the ocean, Japan's Meteorological Agency said waves of up to 10 feet could hit the northern prefectures of Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi, but the first waves were much smaller.
People packed their families into cars, but there were no reports of panic or traffic jams. Fishermen secured their boats, and police patrolled beaches, using sirens and loudspeakers to warn people to leave the area.
Elsewhere, the tsunami passed gently.
By the time the tsunami hit Hawaii - a full 16 hours after the quake - officials had already spent the morning blasting emergency sirens, blaring warnings from airplanes and ordering residents to higher ground.
The islands were back to paradise by the afternoon, but residents endured a severe disruption and scare earlier in the day: Picturesque beaches were desolate, million-dollar homes were evacuated, shops in Waikiki were shut down, and residents lined up at supermarkets to stock up on food and at gas stations.
Waves hit California, but barely registered amid stormy weather. A surfing contest outside San Diego went on as planned.
In Tonga, where up to 50,000 people fled inland hours ahead of the tsunami, the National Disaster Office had reports of a wave up to 6.5 feet high hitting a small northern island, deputy director Mali'u Takai said. There were no initial indications of damage.
Nine people died in Tonga last September when the Samoa tsunami slammed the small northern island of Niuatoputapu, wiping out half of the main settlement.
In Samoa, where 183 people died in the tsunami five months ago, thousands remained Sunday morning in the hills above the coasts on the main island of Upolu, but police said there were no reports of waves or sea surges hitting the South Pacific nation.
At least 20,000 people abandoned their homes in southeastern Philippine villages and took shelter in government buildings or fled to nearby mountains overnight due to the tsunami scare. Provincial officials scrambled to alert villagers and prepare contingency plans, according to the National Disaster Coordinating Council.
Philippine navy and coast guard vessels, along with police, were ordered to stand by for possible evacuation but the alert was lifted late Sunday afternoon.
Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said there was no tsunami risk for the archipelago as it was too far from the quake's epicenter.
On New Zealand's Chatham Islands earlier Sunday, officials reported a wave measured at 6.6 feet.
Oceanographer Ken Gledhill said it was typical tsunami behavior when the sea water dropped three feet off North Island's east coast at Gisborne and then surged back.
Several hundred people in the North Island coastal cities of Gisborne and Napier were evacuated from their homes and from camp grounds, while residents in low-lying areas on South Island's Banks Peninsula were alerted to be ready to evacuate.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology canceled its tsunami warning Sunday evening.
"The main tsunami waves have now passed all Australian locations," the bureau said.
No damage was reported in Australia from small waves that were recorded earlier in the day in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Norfolk Island, about 1,000 miles northeast of Sydney.
New Zealand's Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management downgraded its tsunami warning to an advisory status, which it planned to keep in place overnight
Too many disasters already this year. I'm definitely praying for those in Chile and those in Haiti who are still suffering. :sad:
So sad...what an incredible earthquake...8.8,wow.Those poor people:sad:
There you are along with GOD knows how many Millions of Americans sitting on one HUGE Faultline, a KNOWN and regular Faultline.
I honnestly Thank GOD when I hear of an Earthquake and discover its NOT the one running under and inbetween several large cities along the Californian Coastline not to far away to have a direct impact on you if they shook like that.
Don't worry too much Dave but I'm right on California fault line.I've always lived on one.That's just how it is on the Ca coast.South or North.That's just how we roll so to speak:laugh:
I was watching the news last night and they were showing Half Moon Bay,it's a beach city about 15 miles from me and they were asking the surfers to get out of the water "just in case" but none listened.One surfer girl said that the currents felt a lot stronger then the norm but keeping a surfer out of waves is like keeping flies out of honey...good luck:laugh:
If it makes you feel any better, I'm in the hills so the 15 miles to the beach is pretty much all up hill...a tsunami won't be coming up here however an earthquake...probably :unsure-1:
We had a small quuake here in northern Illinois last week, but no dammage. God is beggining to shake the earth.
:unsure-1: in the event of an Earthquake, just stay away from the cliffe edge please :blink:
but seriously...I'm glad your like, at least a little away from the cities beach. I just dont think this is safe, there has been a lot of geological action just south of you, I wouldnt be surprised at all if that triggers at least some minor quakes in your region next month, just...stay safe...at least until I've had a chance to meet you :w00t:
Even England suffered a small shake was it last year, or maybe the year before...I know because I felt it...it was the middle of the night, and I was playing this
very loudly, and so deeply engrosed I nearly fell off my chair, I wondered how the person below had managed to bang so heavily on the ceiling to make my chair wobble....wasnt til the next day I hear it was an earthquake :laugh:
That was a HUGE quake.
But it gives me a lot of hope.
8.8 and it didn't flatten everything in Chile
With our building codes it gives me hope that if we have a huge one things won't be as bad as they could be (Haiti)
Our Tsunami alarm system went off here (Thank god it works)
but all it did was raise our tide 6 feet
Then die? Besides...it feels like I have met you :unsure-1:
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