By Darryl Mason
UPDATES OF TSUNAMI REACHING ACROSS ENTIRE PACIFIC BASIN BELOW
(10pm) A massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake has struck off the coast of Central Chile. It's the 7th highest magnitude earthquake ever recorded. A tsunami alert has been issued for Queensland by the Bureau of Meteorology.
Threatened areas extend from Point Danger to Double Island Point :
History's largest recorded earthquake, magnitude 9.5, struck Chile in 1960. More than 6000 people died.Possibility of dangerous waves, strong ocean currents and foreshore floodingAnd probably the most important piece of advice :
for several hours from 08:15 am [EST] Sunday.
Sea level observations HAVE confirmed a tsunami has been generated.
Tsunami waves are more powerful than the same size beach waves, with the first
wave not always the largest. First tsunami effects are expected as follows:
Coolangatta after 08:15 am [EST] Sunday
Maroochydore after 09:00 am [EST] Sunday
Brisbane after 09:15 am [EST] Sunday
And the most important piece of advice :Do not go to the coast to watch the tsunami. Check that your
neighbours have received this advice.
The death toll, so far, from today's earthquake off Chile is below 100. That toll is expected to climb, significantly.
UPDATE : Photos, phone videos, news links, eyewitness accounts of the Chile earthquake, and a fast rising panic about the Pacific tsunami are pouring onto Twitter at the rate of a few thousand a minute (at 10.40pm, Sydney time).
Click #Chile and Tsunami to see the Twitter news streams.
The Pacific Tsunami is expected to hit the coasts of the North and South New Zealand islands in about six hours.
UPDATE : Tsunami alerts are scrolling on some Australian TV channels, some appearing during an airing of The Day After Tomorrow, which must be jarring to those who aren't already aware of what's happening.
Tsunami alerts issued for Japan, Alaska, Russia, the east coast of the United States, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, New Guinea....
(10.40) I'll drop the 'update' thing and just keep posting the bits and pieces of news rolling in :
* The entire Pacific Ocean base is now under a tsunami alert.
* The highest tsunami wave (at sea) recorded so far (10:52pm) is 2.2 metres. They tend to get bigger when they reach shallower waters, and coastlines. The waves are expected to roll in for a few hours, but time between each wave can vary from 5 minutes to 60 minutes.
* New Zealand tsunami warnings are dramatic :
"SEA LEVEL READINGS CONFIRM THAT A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN GENERATED WHICH COULD CAUSE WIDESPREAD DAMAGE. AUTHORITIES SHOULD TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS THREAT."* (11.04pm Syd) Evacuations under way on Easter Island, tsunami to hit within an hour.
* Tsunami alerts issued for dozens of countries, even Russia and Antarctica.
(11.20pm Syd) How To Know When The Tsunami Threat Has Passed :
WHEN NO MAJOR WAVES ARE OBSERVED FOR TWO HOURS AFTER THE ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL OR DAMAGING WAVES HAVE NOT OCCURRED FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS THEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES CAN ASSUME THE THREAT IS PASSED. DANGER TO BOATS AND COASTAL STRUCTURES CAN CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL HOURS DUE TO RAPID CURRENTS. AS LOCAL CONDITIONS CAN CAUSE A WIDE VARIATION IN TSUNAMI WAVE ACTION THE ALL CLEAR DETERMINATION MUST BE MADE BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES.
* (11.46pm) CNN reports the Chile earthquake was the biggest to strike anywhere in the world in 100 years. The 8.8 magnitude earthquake has been claimed to have been 1000 times bigger than the quake that struck Haiti.
* (11.50pm) A marine tsunami alert has been issued for New South Wales. :
Threatened areas extend from Broken Bay to Point Danger.
Possibility of dangerous waves, strong ocean currents and foreshore flooding
for several hours from 08:45 am [EDT] Sunday.
Further south from about 8am Sunday for coastal areas from Broken Bay to Gabo
Island, there are likely to be unusual currents and tides during Sunday.
At this stage, those areas, including the coast and bays around Sydney Harbour,
are not considered to be under threat of significant tsunami effects.
* (12.08am) Reuters reports tsunami sirens will be sounded in Hawaii near dawn, "all shores at risk no matter which direction they face." Five metre waves are expected to hit.
* (12.23am) The tsunami wave heading for the east coast of Australia is estimated to be travelling at 800kmh.
* 21 aftershocks have struck Chile, most above magnitude 5, at least seven above magnitude 6.
* Tsunami waves due to hit New Zealand in a few hours are expected to below 1 metre high. Some reports claim evacuations have already begun, others say the perceived threat has been downgraded.
The emergency announcement for the Pacific Tsunami from New Zealand Civil Defence :
1. Stay off beaches* (12.44am) If you're an Australian with relatives in Chile, you can get updates from the Department of Foreign Affairs on hotline : 1800 002 2142. Stay out of the water (sea, rivers and estuaries, including boating activities)3. Do not go sightseeing4. Share this information with family, neighbours and friends5. Listen to the radio and/or TV for updates6. Follow instructions of your local Civil Defence authorities.
* (12.50) CNN via Twitter reports locals claim a 40 metre high (131 foot) wave hit San Fernandez island a few minutes ago. Surely they mean a 4 metre wave?
* (1am) The Pacific Tsunami has begun striking island coastlines near Easter Island. San Fernandez island smashed by huge waves, death toll climbing. Island's capital San Juan Bautista, reports local radio, half destroyed. Partial evacuations now underway on Easter Island.
* (1.10am) Who will the first religious idiot to blame Sydney's Mardi Gras for Australian tsunami damage later today? Hopefully, no-one.
* (1.15am) News from San Fernandez slow to get out. Report that first waves hitting Easter Island are less than a metre high. Some Pacific Tsunami warnings are being downgraded.
* MSNBC airing Chile earthquake twitter reports from an American Idol contestant.
* (1.30am) CNN now running interview with American Idol contestant, Eliot Yamin, showing twoots he wrote during the Chile earthquake. He gives decent eyewitness account of being tossed around his office and then "running for my life" when the massive quake struck.
CNN journalists are now leaving Haiti earthquake destruction to report from Chile earthquake destruction.
* The Pacific Rim Of Fire has been been humming with earthquakes over magnitude 4.5 through the past week (click image to enlarge) :
* (1.30am) California issues alerts, warns coastal cities to prepare for tsunami waves.
* (1.46am) The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre repeating "marine" tsunami expected for New South Wales and Queensland starting at 8am. No major coastal town or city damage expected.
* (2am) A mass nude photo shoot planned for a beach near Weillington this morning has been cancelled due to tsunami alerts. Let's hope that's the worst thing that happens to New Zealand in the next few hours.
* (2.24am) First Pacific Tsunami wave to hit Hawaii in about 45 minutes. Hotels in Maui are being advised to move all guests above the fourth floor. The latest warnings say waves are expected "to wrap around the islands", and the height of tsunamis waves "cannot be predicted."
Honolulu County is issuing urgent warnings for residents to evacuate as roads are about to be closed. Waves as high as four metres are now expected.
* (2.29am) Tsunami alerts issued in Fiji and Tonga warn of incoming waves at least two to three metres high. Police in Samoa have reportedly issued a nationwide evacuation. Terrible.
* (2.33am) Only a few years ago, most tsunamis struck with little or no warning. Tsunami warning centres and monitoring across the Pacific means this time at least many have warnings of what is heading their way, at the speed of a jet. It is likely thousands, if not more, have been saved from the Pacific Tsunami by this warning system. It's been a remarkable and unnerving experience to follow the path of the Pacific Tsunami through Twitter updates and links, Tsunami warning centre alerts and Google Maps these past five hours.
Accurate to almost the minute advance warnings of tsunami wave heights and arrivals were issued 1 - 16 hours before waves hit many Pacific islands, though most in the tsunami's path would have already been in bed when the reports and warnings were issued.
And the earthquakes and aftershocks continue, as the Rim Of Fire grinds, crashes and explodes.