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Saturday, February 27, 2010

THE CHILE EARTHQUAKE

Well, Hawaii dodged a bullet. We survived the tsunami from Chile. You can click on Hawaii Tsunami Information for the latest.

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I'll keep the latest information at the top. The tsunami reached a height of about 6 feet in French Polynesia.

As of 12:20PM, there was a recession of 3 feet and a rise of 3 feet around Hilo. Thus, it's official, a reasonably significant tsunami affected Hawaii. Thank heavens, the 35 foot Hilo monster of 1960 did not materialize this time. At this point, nothing official from a largely abandoned (one person was shown walking to the shore) Waikiki Beach, although there are three surfers awaiting something. Not too smart. The reef off Ala Moana Beach did show for a while, exhibiting some receding waters.

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Well, we now all know that an earthquake, measured with a Moment Magnitude of 8.8, struck just off the coast near Concepcion, Chile at 06:34 GMT (03:34 Chile and 20:34 Hawaii). A tsunami warning has been issued, and Hilo is expected to be affected at 11:19 Saturday morning. It was almost half a century ago (22May60) that the largest earthquake on record (9.5) hit Chile, causing 61 deaths in Hilo.

Honolulu arrival time is 11:25 AM. Sirens were delayed to blare at 6AM. CNN has featured the state and I have been watching for hours. Anyway, one report seems frightening:

The Pacific tsunami warning centre said the quake had generated a wave that could cause destruction along nearby shores "and could also be a threat to more distant coasts". It issued a tsunami warning for Chile, Peru and Hawaii, while Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica are also on alert.

"Chile probably got the brunt force of the tsunami already. So probably the worst has already happened in Chile," said Victor Sardina, geophysicist at the centre. "The tsunami was pretty big too. We reported some places around 8ft. And it's quite possible it would be higher in other areas."

The centre warned that waves up to 4.8 metres high could hit the coasts of the Hawaiian islands, with the first reaching Hawaii at 9pm GMT. "Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property," the centre said in a bulletin. "All shores are at risk no matter which direction they face."


The recent Haiti quake was a 7.0, so how much more powerful was the Chile earthquake today? At one time, the Richter Scale was used, so the shaking amplitude in Chile was about 60 times worse. Today, however, the Moment Magnitude Scale is used, and the resultant quake was about 600 times more powerful in the amount of energy released.

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