Today’s earthquake in northern Chile is not expected to have a major impact on Hawai’i. In addition, the quake had relatively minor impact on Chile. “Minor,” being defined as three deaths – attributed, according to the locally mayor to cardiac arrest among elderly regional residents. That is certainly significant to those people – and their families – but the media has a way of downplaying that very sad fact while applying it to the world at large.
In Hawai’i, the Pacific Tsunami Center says: THERE IS NO THREAT TO HAWAII OF A DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI.
HOWEVER, A TSUNAMI ADVISORY IS POSTED FOR ALL SHORES. A TSUNAMI ADVISORY IS BASICALLY A LOW-LEVEL WARNING. STAY AWAY FROM THE SHORE. STRONG CURRENTS AND MINOR SURGES ALONG COASTLINES AND IN HARBORS COULD OCCUR. FIRST RESPONDERS TYPICALLY CLEAR BEACHES, SIRENS WILL NOT SOUND. ARRIVAL OF FIRST WAVE IS AROUND 3:20AM. KAHULUI HARBOR COULD SEE TSUNAMI WAVES / SURGES OF 1 TO 3… FEET.
Historically the last Chilean earthquake was MUCH bigger than today’s earthquake however, today’s earthquake lines up more directly with Hawaii than the last destructive tsunami generated from there. That is why the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center was so cautious in its reports. They issued 5 bulletins where they said no more than “The situation is currently being evaluated.”
After an 8.2M earthquake off the coast of northern Chile, watches and warnings were posted locally. The largest wave height recorded there was at Pisagua Chile – 7.6 feet. Tsunami waves of this height can do significant damage. In Iquique, Chile there have been 14 waves, 6 feet each and the event is still on-going.
Today marks the beginning of Tsunami Awareness Month and the 68th anniversary of another major tsunami in Hawaii. The April 1, 1946 tsunami was generated by an 8.6-magnitude quake in the Aleutian Islands. It caused widespread damage in Hilo and killed 159 people in Hawaii and six in Alaska.