Mini tsunami laps Islands

  • Oct. 13, 2015 7:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverThe  8.3 magnitude earthquake that rocked Chile Sept.16, killing at least 10 people and flooding coastal towns, was not felt in Haida Gwaii but still had an effect. Approximately 16 hours after the earthquake a six centimetre wave reached the northern parts of Haida Gwaii. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans reported that three small waves were detected as a result of the earthquake in Chile. B.C. has three tsunami recording sites on the coast of B.C. that is connected to the Alaska Tsunami Warning Centre that records in one minute intervals.  The wave that reached Langara Island or otherwise know as Henslung Cove was just six centimetres. Richard Thomson an ocean researcher for the DFO told the Observer “The tsunami waves observed at Haida Gwaii formed in the ocean off the coast of Chile and came directly from Chile.” The small tsunami wave hit the northwest  coast of Haida Gwaii, Sept. 17 at 9:51 a.m. The largest wave measured at only 10 centimetres at Winter Harbour on Vancouver island. The wave took about 16 hours to travel to the B.C. Coast and moved nearly as fast as a commercial jetliner. The pacific coast of Chile was all put on tsunami warning including Hawaii and parts of the California coast. Haida Gwaii and other B.C. coastal communities did not issue tsunami warnings. Tsunami’s can be dangerous for man hours after arrival and the initial wave is not necessarily the largest wave.  The National Tsunami Warning Center reported a large tsunami wave along the Chilean coast, near the epicenter. In Coquibo, Chile, a wave was measured at more than 15 feet. Chile sits on an arc of volcanoes and a fault line circling the Pacific Ocean known as the “Ring of Fire”.  The area experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Since 1973, Chile has had more than a dozen earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 and above.

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