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New PTWC Tsunami Products for Pacific started 1 October 2014

 

PTWCops IMG 8406 crop smlOn 1 October 2014, the US NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) commenced issuance of New Enhanced Tsunami Products for all Pacific countries, culminating a 7-year intergovernmental process coordinated by the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) through its Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS). PTWC retired its Warning and Watch services, and began issuing wave height threat forecasts to country National Tsunami Warning Centers, who will now assess and issue Warnings using guidance from the PTWC, national, and other sources.

Most of the world's earthquakes and tsunamis occur in the Pacific Ocean and its marginal seas, an area spanning more than 20,000 kilometers east to west.  Over history, the Pacific has had 75% of the world’s fatal tsunamis, with 99% of those casualties from local tsunamis that struck within minutes. On average, the Pacific is hit by a locally damaging tsunami every year or two, and by a major Pacific-wide tsunami a few times each century. Over the past nine years (2005-2014), the Pacific witnessed six destructive and deadly tsunamis that placed Pacific countries in various levels of warnings for local and distant tsunamis. However, since the start of the international warning system for the Pacific in 1965, less than 1% of tsunami deaths have occurred in the far field, as compared to ~17% of tsunami deaths prior to 1965.

Indian Ocean-wide Tsunami Exercise (IOWAVE), 9-10 September 2014

 

24 countries of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System took part in an End2End IOC smlinternational tsunami exercise on 9-10 September 2014. The exercise, coordinated by the UNESCO IOC under the leadership of Australia and Indonesia, tested the effectiveness of stakeholder communication flows, country readiness, and tsunami emergency procedures. IOWAVE14 was conducted in real time with the IO Regional Tsunami Service Providers (Australia, India, Indonesia) providing notification messages to country National Tsunami Warning Centers for two simulated scenarios, a M9.1 south of Java, Indonesia, and a M9.0 in the Makran Trench, south of Iran and Pakistan. For more information, visit the IOTIC IOWAVE14 web page. For Media reports, click HERE.

Recent events, in brief:

TWO EARTHQUAKES CAUSE LOCAL TSUNAMIS IN SOLOMON ISLANDS, 12-13 APRIL 2014

The 12 April 2014 magnitude 7.6 (11.315°S, 162.211°E, depth=29 km, strike-slip faulting) and 13 April 2014 magnitude 7.4 (11.451°S, 162.069°E, depth=35 km, thrust faulting) about 100 km southeast of Kirakira, Solomon Islands generated small, non-destructive local tsunamis. This region is characterized transitional transform tectonics from thrust faulting along New Britain Trench to the northwest to thrust faulting along the New Hebrides Trench to the southeast. The events triggered regional tsunami warning alerts by the PTWC, which cancelled their alerts 1-2 hrs later when only 20-30 cm wave were observed at the Honiara sea level gauge.

Tsunamis recorded on nearby coastal sea level gauges in the Solomon Islands (Honiara, Lata Wharf), Vanuatu (Luganville, Port Vila), and New Caledonia (Hienghene, Lifou, Ouinne). Courtesy M. Yamamoto.
Solomon tsunami on 12April2014 Solomon tsunami on 13April2014

12apr14 regional PTWC RIFT M7.55 coastal amp1 2

PTWC RIFT coastal tsunami forecast available ~30 min after the earthquake.

 

M8.2 EARTHQUAKE GENERATES LOCAL TSUNAMI IN NORTHERN CHILE, 01 APRIL 2014

The 1 April 2014 magnitude 8.2 Mw Northern Chile earthquake (19.642 S, 70.817 W, depth 20 km) occurred at 2347 UTC and generated a tsunami that was observed all over the Pacific region and caused damage locally. According to  news reports, there were at least 7 dead due to the earthquake ground shaking and over 200 injured. There was tsunami port damage reported at the nearest city of Iquique, Chile, 79 km away from the epicenter and inundation along the coasts of Pisagua and Arica. In February 2010, a magnitude 8.8 Mw located near the central coast of Chile generated a tsunami that caused 156 fatalities.

According to the USGS, the 1 April 2014 earthquake off the Chilean coast occurred as a result of shallow depth thrust faulting slip on the primary plate boundary interface between the Nazca and South American plates. In the region of the earthquake, the Nazca plate subducts eastward beneath the South American plate at a rate of 65 mm/yr.

For more technical information, visit this tsunami's event page (click here).

PTWC RIFT tsunami forecast animation showing tsunami waves as they propagate across the Pacific.

 

M8.0 EARTHQUAKE GENERATES LOCAL TSUNAMI IN SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS, SOLOMONS, 6 FEBRUARY 2013

On 6 February 2013, a powerful M8.0 earthquake occurred at 01:12 UTC off the Santa Cruz Islands, Solomons due to shallow thrust faulting at a depth of 28 km on or near the plate boundary interface between the Australia and Pacific plates. The M8 earthquake generated a tsunami that was recorded on sea level gauges around the Pacific. The largest wave of 1 m amplitude was recorded at Lata Wharf located about 50 km from the epicenter. Over the month leading up to the event, there had been dozens of earthquakes in the epicentral region, 7 of which were greater than M6. There were also two greater than M6 aftershocks.

Read more: M8.0 EARTHQUAKE GENERATES LOCAL TSUNAMI IN SANTA CRUZ ISLANDS, SOLOMONS, 6 FEBRUARY 2013

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