Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chilean Earthquake Creates Major Tsunami Threat for Most of Pacific

"Tsunami spreads through Pacific after Chile quake"

"Nations around the Pacific Ocean are on full alert as a tsunami triggered by a 8.8 magnitude earthquake in central Chile brings higher than normal waves.

Tsunami warnings have been sounded in an area affecting about a quarter of the globe. At least five deaths were reported in one Chilean island group.

Waves are spreading from the epicentre and striking land across the region.

Warning systems have improved since the 2004 Indonesia quake sparked a tsunami that killed nearly 250,000 people.

Nations and regions affected by the Pacific 'Rim of Fire' have all sounded alerts, trying to estimate the anticipated time of arrival of any tsunami...

Large waves are reported to have struck Chile's Juan Fernandez island group, reaching halfway into one inhabited area and killing five people. Several more are missing.

Two aid ships are reported to be on their way.

Part of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia were hit by a 4m (13ft) wave, but no casualties were reported, AFP news agency said...

In Tahiti, traffic was banned on roads less than 500m from sea, and residents on low-lying land were told to get to higher ground, but the first tsunami waves were smaller there, measuring only 36cm.

New Zealand has warned waves up to 3m could hit the main North and South Islands plus outlying islands.

Waves measuring 20cm hit the Chatham Islands, about 400 miles from the mainland, about 1905 GMT, but the Ministry of Civil Defence warned that 'the greatest wave heights will occur between six and 12 hours after the initial arrivals.'

American Samoa has urged residents to seek shelter, calling on coastal villagers to seek higher ground.

Sirens were sounded in Hawaii to alert residents to the tsunami threat several hours before waves were expected.

The first waves hit about 2200 GMT, after water began moving away from the shore at Hilo Bay on the Big Island before returning.

Officials predicted tsunami waves measuring about 8ft (2.5m) in Hawaii, and people have been rushing to stock up on food, water and petrol...

Australian officials warned of "possible dangerous waves, strong ocean currents and foreshore flooding" from Sydney to Brisbane.

Japan may be hit at 0300 GMT on Sunday, the country's meteorological agency said, calling for people to be fully alert.

California has also warned its coastal cities to prepare for possible tsunami waves, the first strike possibly around San Diego.

The Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu could also all be at risk."

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