Three Years - Three Tsunamis

SUBHEAD: Hawaii has been lucky these last three years, with major earthquakes on the rim in each. But we are unscathed.

By Juan Wilson on 28 October 2012 for Island Breath -

Image above: Frame from live KITV broadcast just before tsunami struck Hawaii showing diagram of expected peak effect of Caanadian Earthquake from Pacific Ysunami Warning Center.

I guess we have been blessed in some way I do not understand over the last few years. We live in Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded The Ring of Fire ( That ring is the extensive string of volcanically active ocean trenches  that surround the Pacific Ocean rim from: the Peru-Chile Trench in the east; to the Aleutian Trench in the north; to the Marianas Trench in the west; to the Tonga Trench in the south.

Even though Hawaii is far from all this trouble, it is far from immune to tsunami damage. On April 1, 1946, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake near the Aleutian Islands created a 40 foot high tsunami that hit Hilo, Hawaii 4.9 hours later, killing 160 people. Then again in 1960 a Chilean tsunami hit in Hilo and left 61 people dead and 282 seriously injured. (,_Hawaii).

Less well known and closer to us was the 1957 tsunami that hit Kauai's north shore. ( That disaster took out the town of Kahiliwai and the bridge that crossed the stream near the ocean. Neither was ever rebuilt.

The Miracle
To me it is an astounding fact that Hawaii has been in the path of three tsunamis, generated from three massive earthquakes,  coming from three different continents, in three consecutive years - and we have come through that almost untouched.

Image above: Crowd stares art apartment buildings knocked down in Concetcion, Chile, by earthquake. From article below. 

First is was the Chilean Earthquake in 2010.  

This from a news flash at the time (
At 3:34 am local time, today, February 27th, a devastating magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck Chile, one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded. According to Chilean authorities, over 400 people are now known to have been killed. The earthquake also triggered a Tsunami which is right now propagating across the Pacific Ocean, due to arrive in Hawaii in hours (around 11:00 am local time). The severity of the Tsunami is still not known, but alerts are being issued across the Pacific.
Then there was was the Japanese Earthquake in 2011.

On March 11, 2011,  an magnitude 8.9  earthquake devastated Japan's eastern coastline and destroying 4 nuclear power plants. It sent a tsunami was across the Pacific that endangered Hawaii. (
In Japan 15,844 people have been confirmed dead since the March 11 disaster, the national police agency said. In addition, the whereabouts of 3450 people are yet to be confirmed, the police said, as the hunt for bodies - many of which are believed to have been washed out to sea - continues.
To date only a minor amount of destruction, radioactivity and debris has reached Hawaii.

Now we just came through the Canadian Earthquake of 2012.

On October 27, 2012, an 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Canada (

At least 100,000 people in Hawaii were ordered to move from the shoreline to higher ground late on Saturday after a tsunami warning, but the first waves were less forceful than had been feared and no damage was initially reported.

The tsunami, triggered by a powerful earthquake off Canada's Pacific coast, began shortly after 10:30 p.m. Hawaii time, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, as motorists clogged roadways in a mass exodus from low-lying areas.
We have been blessed. But don't get too complacent. KITV in Honolulu was set up for start to finish coverage of the incoming tsunami on Saturday night. They almost seemed disappointed when hardly a ripple rolled into Waikiki where people stood on the shore with plastic cups of beer - waiting for the show to begin. However, eventually we will be hit.And it will hurt.

Probably the worst case scenario for us is a tsunami generated by a major underwater landslide right here in Hawaii. They have happened in the distant past and travel across the island chain in just a few minutes.


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