By Chris Brancato
When considering recent environmental issues that have proven to be detrimental, it’d be hard to ignore the tsunami set off by the frequent catastrophic earthquakes that have been occurring throughout the world. Most recently, Chile underwent an earthquake that reached the magnitude last weekend, leaving 700+ counting dead.
An article by Alexei Barrionuevo and Liz Robbins in the New York Times summarized what occurred and discussed the relation of the tsunamis to the intense earthquakes, explaining why the after affects of a tsunami actually prove to be even more threatening than the initial strikes – similar to what occurred in Haiti.
The earthquake that struck Chile Saturday morning may have hit 70 miles northeast of the city of Concepcion and ended up releasing as much energy as 15.8 gigatons of TNT. It still caused a large amount of damage throughout the city, leaving cars “mangled and upbend on streets littered with telephone wires and power cables,” the Times reported.
Waves from the tsunami reached nearly 6 feet in height, leaving many individuals to fend for their lives. The main concern of a tsunami attack isn’t necessarily the height of the wave, but the all around width. That’s what typically ends up proving to be the main threat to individuals with property nearby.
Throughout the entire day, the New York Times ran updates on their website from citizen contributors of Chile, implementing a “crowdsource” approach to journalism, which proved to be pretty effective in the end. On 7:00 P.M. that Saturday night, the Pacific Tsunami Warning center posted a bulletin that read
“TSUNAMI WARNING CANCELLATION.”
BASED ON ALL AVAILABLE DATA THERE IS NO LONGER A DESTRUCTIVE TSUNAMI THREAT TO THE STATE OF HAWAII. THEREFORE THE TSUNAMI WARNING FOR HAWAII IS CANCELED. HOWEVER SOME COASTAL AREAS IN HAWAII MAY CONTINUE TO EXPERIENCE SMALL SEA LEVEL CHANGES AND STRONG OR UNUSUAL CURRENTS LASTING FOR SEVERAL MORE HOURS.
By the time the tsunami struck later that night, it reached a 700-kilometer (435-mile) distance along the Pacific coast in Chile. The tsunami threat spanned as far as Australia, but fortunately didn’t reach beyond Chile’s coast. The strength of the earthquake that hit Chile was 1.8x stronger than the one that hit Haiti earlier this year. Even the tsunami spanned a much greater length in kilometers. The main difference between the impact that both countries underwent was the location of the attack. If the earthquake that struck in Chile had been more central, than the aftermath would have undoubtedly been one of the worst attacks that any country has ever faced.