Tsunami waves likely after 8.8 Chilean earthquake

Tsunami waves are likely to hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores within the next 24 hours after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake which struck early Saturday along Chile's coast.

Some Pacific nations in the warning area were heavily damaged by a tsunami last year. On Sept. 29, a tsunami spawned by a magnitude-8.3 earthquake killed 34 people in American Samoa, 183 in Samoa and nine in Tonga. Scientists later said that wave was 46 feet (14 meters) high. Although past South American earthquakes have had deadly effects across the Pacific, the tsunami from Saturday's quake is likely to be much smaller because the quake itself was not as strong. None the less, tsunami waves are notoriously hard to predict and this is a matter of serious concern.

If you have family or friends living in the affected coastal areas, now would be a good time to get in touch with them and make sure they are aware of the threat. People living along the coastlines should move inland. Sailors should put to sea and hold well off shore until the giant waves have passed.

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Comment by Milt on March 8, 2010 at 9:04pm
Agree, Zeehag. The safest place is well off shore. In shallows or the confines of a bay or harbor the effects are exaggerated. At sea, it's just a huge, fast moving bump in the ocean, but will not crest until it reaches the shallows near shore. I've never experienced one, but have read many interesting accounts from sailors who have. The science guys expected this one to be much worse than it was. We got lucky, this time.
Comment by zeehag on March 8, 2010 at 11:14am
tsunamis arent too bad at sea--rollundr the boat--in bays and harbors where the watwer is shallow they rise and cause troubles--sin diego only had a 4 ft diffewrence in tide and the current was horrific but the only damage i saw --and heard of --was in shelter island--coronado where i kep my boat on a mooring was ok...we survived---my neighbors told me all was ok.....
Comment by Milt on March 8, 2010 at 10:24am
Update from Whangarei, New Zealand, 03/01/2010

Our hearts go out to all the people in Chile. We are waiting for word from our cruising friends in Chile and hope all is well with them.
We woke to a knock on the boat from another cruiser waking all of us up early Sunday morning spreading the word of the tsunami warning. Many of us had first hand scary experiences from Tonga so we definitely took it seriously. After the initial urge to untie and a hurry, we stopped to weigh out our options. We are 17 miles inland up an estuary/river. We are still under the influence of tides and the water is mostly saltwater. With the full moon, we have some big tides and about the time the tsunami was scheduled to hit, the tide would be just starting to ebb. We all pretty much agreed that our best option was to stay put with the thoughts that a muddy bottom and mangrove bank would be a better risk rather than maybe not even making it out to open water in time. Our short pilings were a concern, but we decided to all hang out and if we needed we could use lines to secure the dock back to the bank. It turned out that there were no worries for us after all. The tide and currents were quite disrupted from its usual flow throughout the day. The tsunami brought up to a meter for some of the coastal areas in Northeastern New Zealand but with no damage.
Joan & Chuck, S/V Tender Spirit,
Comment by Phil Prater on February 28, 2010 at 12:49pm
zee said the water rose 4 ft and was not a problem in moorings--just a marina or two--and some other incidental stuff..she isnt sure what as yet--didnt hear back from friends so all i swell....
Comment by Milt on February 28, 2010 at 12:50am
It appears the predictions of a major tsunami following yesterday's Chilean magnitude-8.8 earthquake were overstated, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. I still haven't seen any reports from Japan, where they expect a more serious event, but, so far, the worst result from the Chilean tidal wave seems to have been the cancellation of a nude photo shoot scheduled for the coastline near New Zealand's capital city of Wellington. The volunteers were evacuated from the beeches before they had a chance to strip. I'm still awaiting a further update on that calamity.
Comment by Liv on February 27, 2010 at 5:42pm
Just heard from a sailor in San Diego . They're experiencing a 2 foot rise and strong wave action at this very moment. The water level is still rising as I'm typing this. Zee I hope your boat is ok.
Comment by Terri on February 27, 2010 at 3:05pm
Just heard they're putting the warships out to sea from Hawaii. Might consider doing the same from San Diego...yikes
Comment by Liv on February 27, 2010 at 1:11pm
I just heard that the Tsunami already reached the southern Juan Fernandez Islands, about 400 miles off the coast of Chile, where it was reported to have caused "serious damage".
Comment by LOLA on February 27, 2010 at 1:10pm
YES TY, I just heard it explained on FOX news.
Comment by Milt on February 27, 2010 at 11:10am
It's the land that destroys boats, not the sea. If they are in deep water, the wave will just roll under them before it can crest. As the wave enters the shallows closer to shore it builds in height and may pick the boat up and crash it against the shore, the docks, or other boats. A little searoom is all they would need to ride it out safely.

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