Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami Warning Across Pacific Rim

A massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Chile at 3:34am this morning, setting into motion a tsunami that threatens the entire Pacific Rim, and points as far away as Australia and Antarctica.

Several substantial aftershocks followed, including ones measuring 6.9, 6.2 and 5.6.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a warning for Chile and Peru, and a less-urgent tsunami watch for Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Antarctica. The PTWC has issued its highest alert for Hawaii, where incoming waves could cause damage along the coastlines across the island chain.

The largest earthquake ever recorded occurred in the very same region, on May 22, 1960. The 9.5 magnitude earthquake killed thousands and left millions homeless in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines. Damage was even reported as far out as the United States West Coast.

People in coastal areas, such as the tourist-filled Waikiki, will be instructed on a possible evacuation scenario. Public alert sirens will be sounded again three hours prior to the estimated arrival time of the tsunami wave.

"If you're in an evacuation zone, police or civil defense volunteers would instruct you to evacuate, or instructions will come out over the radio and TV," she said.

Breaking news on this disaster will follow here. Stay tuned.