2012 Tsunamis



The 28 October 2012 (0304 UTC) / 27 October 2012 (2004 PDT, 1704 HST) magnitude 7.7 Haida Gwaii earthquake generated small, non-destructive tsunami that were measured in Alaska, British Columbia and southward to Calfornia and in Hawaii; much smaller waves were also measured throughout the Pacific.  Tsunami Warnings were issued by WC/ATWC for SE Alaska and Northern British Columbia at 2007 PDT, and downgraded to Advisories at 0049 PDT 28 October for SE Alaska and at 0247 PDT for Northern BC.  Advisories were also issued for Southern BC through Northern California.

Read more: PTWC ISSUES WARNING FOR M7.7 HAIDA GWAII, BRITISH COLUMBIA EARTHQUAKE

28 October 2012 (UTC), Mw 7.7, Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii, Canada Tsunami

The 28 October 2012 (0304 UTC) / 27 October 2012 (2004 PDT, 1704 HST) magnitude 7.7 Haida Gwaii earthquake generated small, non-destructive tsunami that were measured from Alaska to Calfornia and in Hawaii; much smaller waves were also measured throughout the Pacific.  Tsunami Warnings were issued by WC/ATWC for SE Alaska and Northern British Columbia at 2007 PDT, and downgraded to Advisories at 0049 PDT 28 October for SE Alaska and at 0247 PDT for Northern BC.  Advisories were also issued for Southern BC through Northern California.   A Tsunami Warning was issued by PTWC for Hawaii at 1909 HST 27 October, and downgraded to an Advisory at 0101 HST 28 October.  Waves up to 5 ft were observed on Maui and the Hawaii Island, but little damage was reported statewide.  One person died on Oahu during the tsunami warning when a speeding vehicle rammed into parked cars that were waiting for the closed coastal road to reopen.

According to the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center / World Data Service for Geophysics / (http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/hazard/) Global Historical Event database, 7 confirmed local tsunamis have occurred in the British Columbia region over history. The largest runup was 9.0 m from a M7.3 June 23, 1946 earthquake that generated numerous landslides and ensuing tsunami. A major submarine slope failure on April 27, 1975 generated tsunami waves of up to 4.1 m in Kitimat Inlet, British Columbia. Tsunami waves up to 5.0 m that were probably generated from the March 28, 1963 underwater slump were observed on Graham and Queen Charlotte Islands. Minor traces on tide gauges have been observed in British Columbia from 41 teletsunamis generated by large earthquakes around the Pacific Rim as well as the M9.1 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The largest runups were 6.4 m at Port Alberni and 5 m at Shields Bay from the M9.2 March 28, 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA earthquake and tsunami. The 1964 tsunami caused $10 million damage on Vancouver Island.

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M8.6 EARTHQUAKE GENERATES LOCAL TSUNAMI IN INDONESIA, 11 APRIL 2012

A M8.6 shallow strike-slip earthquake occurred at 0838 UTC 11 April 2012 off the coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, and was followed by a second shallow M8.2 strike-slip aftershock at 1043 UTC (USGS).  Both generated small local tsunamis with a maximum of 1.06 m measured at 1007 UTC in Meulaboh, Indonesia located about 395 km west southwest of the epicenter.  Waves heights up to 0.4 m were recorded throughout the region and as far away as Rodrigues Island, Mauritius in the western Indian Ocean (0.22 m wave amplitude).  Amateur video of the tsunami arriving in Indonesia was captured.

Since October 2011, Regional Tsunami Service Providers (RTSP) of Australia, India and Indonesia have been serving as the primary sources for tsunami advisories for the Indian Ocean, with the PTWC and Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) continuing to operate a parallel service until the end of 2012. The RTSP provide tsunami alerts directly to national tsunami warning centers in each country, and the countries use the advice to assess and issue warnings and advisories to their populations.  The PTWC issued an Indian-Ocean wide Tsunami Watch at 0845 UTC, and JMA issued Tsunami Watch Information at 0855 UTC. PTWC cancelled its tsunami watch at 1318 UTC.

Public bulletins are available from the Australia, India, and Indonesia RTSPs, and from the PTWC.

This region of the Indo-Ausralian plate has been seismically very active throughout history, and includes the great M9.1 earthquake of 26 December 2004 that generated the deadliest tsunami ever killing nearly 230,000 in Indonesia and across the Indian Ocean. Immediately following the disaster, the IOC of UNESCO took the lead in coordinating activities and immediate action to establish an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWS). The response included the start of an interim Advisory Service in 2005 through the PTWC in Hawaii and the JMA in Tokyo, and in 2011 the start of the permanent RTSPs for the Indian Ocean.

ptwc rift rift wphase cmt m8.57

 ptwc hani

wcatwc 23401r 04-13-2012

Captions: Left: PTWC RIFT model simulation showing the predicted maximum off-shore tsunami wave amplitudes from the 0838 MTC 11 April 2012 strike-slip earthquake.

Right top: Tsunamis recorded on the Hanimaadhoo, Maldives coastal sea level gauge (PTWC). The 1st tsunami (0.23 m amplitude) was generated by the M8.6 0838 UTC earthquake and the 2nd tsunami (0.18 m amplitude) was generated by the M8.2 1043 UTC earthquake.

Right bottom: DART 23401 deep-ocean instrument in the Bay of Bengal clearly shows the 2 tsunamis (WC/ATWC)

Three major earthquakes struck Central America and the Philippines from 27 August - 5 September 2012. Notable were the 27 August El Salvador earthquake (Mw 7.3) in which PTWC issued a Fixed Regional Warning; the 31 August East Philippine earthquake (Mw 7.6) in which PTWC issued an Expanding Regional Warning; and the 5 September Costa Rica earthquake (Mw 7.6) in which PTWC issued a Fixed Regional Warning. Tsunamis were measured in these events, with damage and injuries reported from the El Salvador event.

Read more: THREE MAJOR EARTHQUAKES STRIKE PACIFIC BASIN IN A NINE-DAY PERIOD

Event List - January 1 - December 31, 2012

Advisories issued by international tsunami warning centres. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (P) issues: Tsunami Information Bulletins (TIB), Fixed and Expanding Regional Warnings (FRW, ERW), and Ocean-wide Watch/Warnings (TWW) for the Pacific; Tsunami Information Bulletins (TIB), Local, Regional, and Ocean-wide Tsunami Watches (LTW, RTW, TW) for the Indian Ocean; Tsunami Information Statements (TIS), Local, Regional, and Ocean-wide Watches (LTW, RTW, TW) for the wider Caribbean (C). The Japan Meteorological Agency (J), issues: Tsunami Advisories (NWPTA) for the Northwestern Pacific; Tsunami Watch Information (TWI) for the Indian Ocean. The West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (A) issues: Tsunami Information Statements (TIS), Tsunami Watch/Warnings (TWW) for Canada, the US (including Puerto Rico, excluding Hawaii and US-affiliated Pacific Island countries), and the US/British Virgin Islands. Depth (from GCMT solution) epicenter and Mw from the USGS (G), and Mw from PTWC (P) and JMA (MJMA for Japan local vicinity) at action time. Wave height and period measurements from sea level gauges reported as amplitude, peak to trough, or greatest value for either inundation or runup as indicated. Other earthquakes with moment magnitude (Mw) greater than or equal to 6.5 and a depth no greater than 100 km, as recorded by USGS, have also been included.

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