Thursday, April 3, 2014

Orphan tsunami - an alert in Japan

The M8.2 earthquake experienced by Chile yesterday was massive. Few quakes in history have been larger and in fact there have been less than twenty of this scale anywhere in the world in the last 150 years. And earthquakes can produce tsunami. And these can be worse. Then following a M5.3 in Tohoku at 8.22 this morning a tsunami warning was briefly issued but quickly cancelled.

However, one characteristic of these huge waves is that they travel enormous distances relatively undiminished. The Chile quake created a two meter wall of water towards the immediate coastline but it also sent one in the opposite direction into the Pacific. These orphan tsunami are historically unpredictable but can be devastating when they come on shore as they arrive without tremor or warning. And now, after it has crossed the ocean, we're under tsunami warning again in Japan. Twice in one day.

No comments:

Post a Comment