Chilean tsunami crosses entire Pacific Ocean
Added on 2010-03-01 12:29:23
The progress of the tsunami was followed closely via the sea level monitoringssystem, developed by IOC/UNESCO, IODE and VLIZ in Oostend, Belgium.
Central Chile yesterday was hit by a series of severe earthquakes. The major one off Concepcion on Feb 27, 06:34 UTC had a magnitude of 8.8. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii, USA issued a regional warning at 06:46.
The first sea level measurements at Valparaiso with 1.3 m and Talcahuano with 2.3 m confirmed a tsunami had been generated. PTWC revised and extended the affected region at 09:47. At 10:45 UTC the PTWC warned of a Pacific wide tsunami and subsequent hourly messages expanded the warning to several areas in the Pacific Ocean. Every hour the system coordinated by UNESCO and operated by national agencies kept updating the established tsunami warning focal points and media accessing the system. From Galapagos (1.0 m in Santa Cruz) to Marquise Islands (1.8 m), or from Malibu (1.4 m) to Valparaiso (1.3 m) a near-real time sea level monitoring system enabled emergency response agencies to order evacuation or to warn locals about the risk of tsunami.
This is the first real scale test of a system that was put in place nearly 50 years ago by UNESCO’s Member States through its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), when a 9.5 magnitude earthquake on May 22, 1960 off Chile on the Pacific Rim generated a tsunami heavily affecting Hilo in Hawaii or Sanriku coast of Japan. It led to the establishment of the Pacific Tsunami Warming System PTWS, operating since 1965 under the mandate of IOC-UNESCO. In the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami on Dec 26, 2004, building on this experience, IOC-UNESCO established similar systems for the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean and the seas around Europe to ensure a global cover for tsunami hazards.
Read more about this tsunami on the websites of IODE and IOC.
Read more on the activities of the VLIZ data centre in the ‘sea level station monitoring facility’.