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Weather Blog: Anatomy Of A Tsunami

by Mario Gomez

khou.com

Posted on February 27, 2010 at 11:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 10:48 PM

NOAA Center For Tsunami Research

This map shows maximum computed tsunami amplitude in (cm) during 24 hours of wave propagation. Black contours show computed tsunami arrival time. A tsunami is generated when the earths crust is suddenly displaced during an earthquake. The displacement can be up and down or from side to side. The amount of energy and location of the earthquake governs the amplitude of the waves. Since the earthquake was measured at 8.8 by the US GS and occurred off shore it was forecast to produce waves in excess of 9 feet based on historical and model data. Hilo, Hawaii measured wave heights of 5 feet Saturday afternoon. Several variables including other ocean waves, topography and coastal differences can influence the height of the waves.

Tsunami computer models are used to provide an estimate of wave arrival times. A Tsunami warning is issued based on realtime data and computer simulation. The model simulates the earthquake, wave propagation and inundation of dry land. To see the latest model of the Feb 27, 2010 earthquake in Chile click the following link : http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/chile20100227/20100227Chile.mov

 

NOAA Center For Tsunami Research

The 1960 earthquake in Chile created larger tsunami waves due to the energy released by the earthquake. The quake was measured at 9.5 on the Richter scale. Before the tsunami warning system was implemented, fatalities where more common place in the Pacific basin. Japan alone had over 140 fatalities during the 1960 tsunami with many others also reported in the South Pacific region during that event. The Chilean coast will continue to have after shocks for the next several weeks causing additional destruction. If you'd like to help please give to the Red Cross.

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