About Professor Simon Haslett

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Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
Professor of Physical Geography and Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Chile earthquake and Pacific tsunami

I've been watching events unfold in the Pacific today following the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile at 3.34am (local time) on today. The quake spawned a tsunami that must have arrived very quickly, within 30 minutes, on the Chilean coast as the epicentre was only 3 miles offshore. Unlike the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that arrived in the day, todays quake happened at night, so the number of people on Chile's beaches and seafronts should be minimal (let's hope). The tsunami was less than 1m high along most of the Chile coast, but was around 1.2 m at Valpariso and 2.4 m at Talcahuano near Concepcion. The offshore Juan Fernandez Islands were right in the path of the tsunami and I've seen unconfirmed reports that massive waves up to 40 m high battered Robinson Crusoe Island in the archipelago. As I write reports are coming in that the tsunami has reached the Chatham Islands on its way to New Zealand, and it is predicted to hit Hawaii in about 30 minutes from now! The evacuation sirens have been sounding since 6am (local time) there, so everyone should be out of the way by now - no one needs to die there, or any where more than an hour or so away from the epicentre.

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