Devastating Tsunamis in the Pacific

The Pacific Ocean and its adjacent marginal seas are the largest, most diverse, and most tsunami-prone of any of the earth’s oceans. Pacific Ocean nations face and must be prepared for distant, and local tsunami threats. In the past, Member States depended primarily on the international advice services of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), Northwest Pacific Tsunami Advisory Centre (NWPTAC), and US National Tsunami Warning Center (US NTWC) to inform their National Tsunami Warning Centre decisions.  But lessons learned recently on how to best prepare for local and regional tsunamis acknowledges that every country needs tp address the threat themselves through improved and expanded National Tsunami Warning Centre and Disaster Management Office capacities targeting coastal communities, and through formal regional collaboration. On 11 March 2011, the Pacific experienced and responded to its third destructive local tsunami in three years.  Following the 29 September 2009 Samoa Tsunami that killed 192 in Samoa, American Samoa, and Tonga, and the 27 February 2010 Chile Tsunami that killed 124 in Chile, Japan is now facing a tremendous effort to analyze its national response and preparedness in order to better mitigate its tsunamis losses in the future. On 6 February 2013, a local tsunami in the Solomon Islands killed 9. On 1 April 2014, a local tsunami in northern Chile killed 7.

Chile Tsunami Event 1 April 2014

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PTWC RIFT detailed coastal forecast amplitudes, Chile Pacific Sea Level Stations with Tsunami Travel Times (TideTool)

Solomons Tsunami Event 6 February 2013

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PTWC RIFT model simulation showing the predicted maximum off-shore tsunami wave amplitudes from the 1112 UTC 6 February 2013 shallow thrust earthquake. Tsunami damage to homes at Venga village in Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands. Photo courtesy of Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office.

Japan Tsunami Event 11 March 2011

Japan Tsunami Event 11 March 2011

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Observed water heights and calculated 
tsunami travel times, 11 March 2011
Minami Sanriku, Japan

Chile Tsunami Event 27 February 2010

Chile Tsunami Event 27 February 2010

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Observed water heights and calculated
tsunami travel times, 11 March 2011

Dichato, Chile

South Pacific Tsunami Event 29 September 2009

29 September 2009 South Pacific Tsunami Event

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Observed water heights and calculated
tsunami travel times, 29 Sept 2009
Pago Pago harbor, American Samoa

 


 

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Featured Resources

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Regional Disaster Information Center (Latin America & the Caribbean)


A database of Spanish language materials focused on tsunami preparedness.
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Post-Tsunami Survey:
El Salvador Summary Video

Learn the basics of a post-tsunami survey.
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TsunamiTeacher USA
Tsunami Basics
  

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(w/closed captioning)
 

Learn the basics of tsunamis. Available in English and Samoan.

 
Tsunamis on the Move








Tsunami Awareness Poster


Awareness poster available in English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Singalese.

 
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Global Hazard Maps


Posters of Tsunami Sources, Significant Earthquakes and Significant Volcanic Eruptions. Also Tsunami Sources Icosohedron Globe.

 
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Tsunami, The Great Waves

Available in English, Spanish, French and Chinese.

 

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Tsunami Glossary


Available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French and Bahasa. 

 

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Where the First Wave Arrives in Minutes

Available in English, Bahasa, Spanish and French.
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TsunamiTeacher

DVD copies for PC and Macintosh computers are available free of charge from the ITIC, Hawaii (itic.tsunami@noaa.gov).

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