Tsunami warnings for Hawaii: How science really works


As I write this it’s more than five hours away.

Earthquake map from USGS, showing location of the Chile quake 2-27-2010

Earthquake map from USGS, showing location of the Chile quake 2-27-2010 - click on map to go to interactive version at USGS site

A horrible, devastating earthquake hit Chile last night, on the west coast of South America.  Scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center fear it may have triggered a tsunami that will hit Hawaii today (an AP story says at 5:19 p.m. Eastern; that’s 4:19 p.m. Central, and just after 11:00 a.m. in Honolulu, Hawaii, Hawaiian-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST).

HONOLULU (Reuters) – Hawaii prepared to start evacuations ahead of a tsunami generated by a massive earthquake in Chile, a civil defense official on the U.S. island said on Saturday.

It planned to sound civil defense sirens across the island state at 6 a.m. local time (11 a.m. EST) after the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a tsunami was generated that could cause damage along the coasts of all the Hawaiian islands,

“Get off the shore line. We are closing all the beaches and telling people to drive out of the area,” said John Cummings, Oahu Civil Defense spokesman.

Buses will patrol beaches and take people to parks in a voluntary process expected to last five hours.

More than an hour before sirens were due to sound lines of cars snaked for blocks from gas stations in Honolulu.

“Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property,” the Warning Center said in a bulletin. “All shores are at risk no matter which direction they face.”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The warning follows a huge earthquake in Chile that killed at least 82 people and triggered tsunamis up and down the coast of the earthquake-prone country.

The center estimates the first tsunami, which is a series of several waves in succession, will hit Hawaii at 11:19 a.m. Hawaii time (4:19 p.m. EST) in the town of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, with waves in Honolulu at 11:52 a.m.

Sardina said the Hawaiian islands could expect waves of six feet (two meters) in some places. Other estimates have been higher but he could not confirm those were likely.

Plate tectonics at work — the Pacific plate pushing underneath South America.  The epicenter was 22 miles deep.  We get a glimpse into how geologists and others work with a report from the Times of London:

Several big aftershocks later hit the south-central region, including ones measuring 6.9, 6.2 and 5.6.

The earthquake was caused by the floor of the Pacific being pushed below South American land mass.

This sudden jerking of the sea-floor displaced water and triggered a tsunami, which is now crossing the ocean at a speed of a jet plane.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for Chile and Peru, and a less-urgent tsunami watch for Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica.

A spokesman said: “Sea level readings indicate a tsunami was generated.

Will a potential disaster in human lives be averted?

Isn’t this exactly how science is supposed to work?  Will the anti-science yahoos ignore the warnings?

Woo notice: Our dogs were restless last night.  I had to get up twice to let them out just to bark with the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood, who all seemed to be going nuts at once.  Looking at the news stories, it was just a bit before the big quake hit Chile.  It doesn’t make sense to me that dogs so far away from the epicenter would be affected that way.

Resources:

Hawaii map and threat map from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center - 2-27-2010

Hawaii map and threat map from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, February 27, 2010. Click on image for current information.

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9 Responses to Tsunami warnings for Hawaii: How science really works

  1. just imagine how scary it would have been for those who experienced the incident. this reminds me of what happened 2 years back in thailand. i wonder what UN is doing something about this. this year seems to be filled with tragedies. first the haiti earthquake and I wonder what’s gonna happen next but I pray nothing bad will come

    Like

  2. Ed Darrell says:

    So, then, you don’t even have Nikes? Shoulda known.

    Joshua, you make wild and crazy claims. What “predictions” do you claim USGS is trying to protect? Can you show us where these predictions were made, and how they err?

    Your charges are wrong and nasty. Get the facts, and get less crabby, will you?

    Like

  3. jjoshuajj21 says:

    You’ve got to be kidding, that would be to much of a blessing! I’m a human being who must suffer in “YOUR” Hell upon planet earth, just like flower trying to grow in polluted soil. Comets comming for me, LoL, I already know that one of “YOU” will be my killer, I knew this 44 years ago, and its still comming true. Try to catch-up, you’re so far behind.

    Like

  4. Ed Darrell says:

    jjoshuajj, will you leave me your new Nikes when the comet comes for you?

    Like

  5. jjoshuajj21 says:

    I don’t have to explain anything, Ed Darrell, just open your eyes, and listen to the news, these USGS researchers are trying their best to sustain their predictions and their science, against the critism of others. So, wake up and see what’s going on. As far as the BC Matrix, it’s accurate so far, Ha Ha!

    Like

  6. Anna says:

    My friends horses were behaving unusually (first time she ever witnessed them behaving like that) and would have equated to about 4 hours prior to the earthquake in Chile.
    They were running in circles (three of them) around and around – then in a straight line – then back into a circle again. Very very strange.
    “Woo woo” – ok. It’s hard to ignore animal sensitivity to natural occurrences. But so many many miles away? Yes, strange.
    Conclusion: I personally have to accept that plate movement may have began in the Northern/Central American region of the vertical faultline that extends down along the western S. American coastline. And somehow Hawaii was affected by it and the animals sensed it prior to the event.

    Like

  7. […] long before some yahoo complains we shouldn’t trust USGS, nor […]

    Like

  8. Ed Darrell says:

    What bizarro planet do you live on? USGS and NOAA predictions were astoundingly accurate, especially considering their accuracy on time predictions with a wave covering thousands of miles of open water.

    You, jjoshuajj, need to explain why you think USGS was wrong, and why anyone should pay those bizarre distortions of scripture any heed at all.

    The Bible-thumping “hate America first, hate scientists most” crowd weary me.

    USGS predictions were timely, useful, and accurate; see the New York Times:

    The last Pacific-wide tsunami warning like Saturday’s was in 1964, said Brian R. Shiro, a geophysicist at the warning center.

    Some regional warnings in Hawaii, including one in 1994, have passed with no tsunami impact at all. But tsunamis have also caused major damage and some loss of life in Hawaii, most recently in 1975, when two people were killed, Mr. Shiro said.

    In May 1960, a 9.5-magnitude earthquake in central Chile — the largest ever recorded — set off a tsunami that hit the Hawaiian islands about 15 hours later, causing $75 million in damage and killing 61 people.

    Like

  9. jjoshuajj21 says:

    The USGS needs to explain why their calculations were inaccurate this time, or people won’t believe them, next time, and that may be very bad >>> http://worldresarchnews.wordpress.com/ <<<

    Like

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