Pharyngula

Major earthquake in Chile

The country was hit hard with some loss of life, but so far seems to be handling it well — this is nothing like the Haiti disaster. Countries on the Pacific shore need to brace themselves for tsunamis. NOAA has published estimated arrival times. And just look at this amazing map of where the energy from this quake is going:

i-7c270bab8fe93e5edbbe114b0414a201-chileem.jpeg

Comments

  1. #1 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    February 27, 2010

    Interesting map, which I presume is the height of the tsunami expected from the quake.

  2. #2 vanharris
    February 27, 2010

    Some of the Pacific Islands, even Hawaii, look like they’re going to take a severe hit from the tsunami. I hope that people can respond to the warnings, if they get any, & get to high ground, if there is any.

    (Darwin came up with the accepted theory about the formation of the Pacific atolls.)

  3. #3 vila
    February 27, 2010

    Greetings from Chile. Last news, 122 people dead confirmed, images from city of Concepcion (earthquake center) just rolling in. Seems like there’s lots of structural damage. It’s gonna take a while for big parts of Chile to get back on it’s feet.

    No tsunami is expected in the zone. I was on beach town of via del mar, and authorities were informing that. Drove back to Santiago at 5 am in the morning to be with my family (we’re all OK)

  4. #4 bart.mitchell
    February 27, 2010

    Glad to hear it Vila, take care down there.

  5. #5 David Marjanovi?
    February 27, 2010

    Some of the Pacific Islands, even Hawaii, look like they’re going to take a severe hit from the tsunami.

    A tsunami 10 cm high (orange zone).

  6. #6 semopcoes
    February 27, 2010

    Chile has a long history of earthquakes and has building experience to minimize damage. But what can you do when an 8.8er hits? Good news: it looks like the tsunami is going to fizzle. It would be good if NASA would also speak up with their forecasts.
    Best of wishes to the good people of Chile.

  7. #7 vanharris
    February 27, 2010

    Something that i’d just assumed from the map was that the quoted heights are wave heights that the earthquake would create in deep water, so that the effect of shoaling approaching land would make the tsunami much more devasting than the quoted heights might otherwise suggest.

  8. #8 chgo_liz
    February 27, 2010

    Best wishes to those in Chile.

    Looking at that map, I wonder: how is this going to affect the already fragile Galapagos islands?

  9. #9 Aquaria
    February 27, 2010

    Time to dig up the credit card for the usual charities. At the rate things are going, I need to bookmark Mdecins Sans Frontires.

  10. #10 JulieK
    February 27, 2010

    @chgo_liz:

    I’ve been wondering about that as well. From the reports I’ve seen it looks like the Galapagos saw a swell, and unusually strong waves, but there has been no damage reported.

  11. #11 Exocrat
    February 27, 2010

    Wow. Does anyone have any good links for continuing info on this? Have tsunamis struck anywhere yet?

    Not in a position to check unfortunately.

  12. #12 Larry
    February 27, 2010

    The Bad Astronomer posted a link to a live feed from the Hawaii Tsunami Center. Here is it.

    http://www.hawaiitsunami.com/

  13. #13 Exocrat
    February 27, 2010

    Thanks, Larry.

  14. #14 mck9
    February 27, 2010

    This isn’t the first time that God has smitten Chile with a big earthquake. I wonder what Pat Robertson will come up with this time.

  15. #15 fester60613
    February 27, 2010

    I just got a text from a friend who is in Hawaii. The tsunami alarms have sounded and people are evacuating the eastern / southeastern shores.
    Hilo should be about empty by now, just before noon in Chicago.

  16. #16 Lynna, OM
    February 27, 2010

    Larry @12: That website seems to have experienced a tsunami of visitors and is currently unwatchable.

  17. #17 vila
    February 27, 2010

    Well I just don’t get it. Here in Chile abortions are illegal, and our laws are highly discriminative against homosexual people. We even went ahead and elected a right-wing government for the first time in decades.

    Don’t know what we did to piss off God this time.

  18. #18 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 27, 2010

    Don’t know what we did to piss off God this time.

    God has bad aim. I think he was trying to hit Spain but couldn’t distinguish between the Spanish speaking countries.

  19. #19 summitwulf
    February 27, 2010

    There should be some additional news emerging from Chile as the various astronomical observatories (Gemini South, ESO Paranal etc.) start reporting in with their experiences. They’re always concerned by earthquakes, having lots of big, breakable and delicate hardware. Plus, they can sometimes be rather good accelerometers…

    Good luck to all in the thick of it down there.

  20. #20 summitwulf
    February 27, 2010

    The Los Angeles Times coverage is rather comprehensive. See:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/laplaza/chile-earthquake/

  21. #21 Tronzu
    February 27, 2010

    I too wonder what kind of deal with the Devil Chileans made..

  22. #22 Knockgoats
    February 27, 2010

    God has bad aim. I think he was trying to hit Spain but couldn’t distinguish between the Spanish speaking countries. – Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo

    Nah – he was clearly aiming at danged lefty Bolivia, where the government has been promoting various kinds of equality, but he’s working from an old map – no-one’s told him about The War of the Pacific (1879-84).

  23. #23 summitwulf
    February 27, 2010

    I’m sure ‘Pat The Tw*t’ will enlighten us all shortly… =(

  24. #24 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    February 27, 2010

    Nah – he was clearly aiming at danged lefty Bolivia, where the government has been promoting various kinds of equality, but he’s working from an old map – no-one’s told him about The War of the Pacific (1879-84).

    You’re hyperlink-fu is questionable grasshopper. :)

    Oh yeah, I forgot that Cod likes to miss America’s ideological enemies.

  25. #25 tradewinds
    February 27, 2010

    Larry, great source, thanks. We just got back from Maui so are watching intently.

  26. #26 Carl Toribio
    February 27, 2010

    My heart goes out to the victims of this latest natural disaster. I hope the relief effort is just as swift, if not even more so, than the one for Haiti.

    @Gyeong Hwa Pak – OT

    “Pikachu para lang sa iyo” translates to “Pikachu, just for you” in Filipino. Nice double play on words there. c”,)

  27. #27 Jadehawk, OM
    February 27, 2010

    Some of the Pacific Islands, even Hawaii, look like they’re going to take a severe hit from the tsunami. I hope that people can respond to the warnings, if they get any, & get to high ground, if there is any.

    they are getting warnings, there is more than enough high ground, and people’s* main response is whining about having tsunami warnings interrupt their vacation.

    ——

    *by “people” I mean my boyfriend’s sister and her husband, since they’re the only people I know who are in Hawaii at the moment.

  28. #28 Knockgoats
    February 27, 2010

    Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo@24,

    Thanks: The War of the Pacific (1879-84).

  29. #29 David Marjanovi?
    February 27, 2010

    Something that i’d just assumed from the map was that the quoted heights are wave heights that the earthquake would create in deep water, so that the effect of shoaling approaching land would make the tsunami much more devasting than the quoted heights might otherwise suggest.

    Oh shit, you’re most likely right. A tsunami that’s 10 cm high in deep water hitting Hawaii… that’s scary.

    there is more than enough high ground

    In Hawaii, yes. On many other Pacific islands, there’s none whatsoever.

  30. #30 Jadehawk, OM
    February 27, 2010

    In Hawaii, yes. On many other Pacific islands, there’s none whatsoever.

    yeah, I know. i was only talking about Hawaii, since I completely missed the “Some of the Pacific Islands” part of the text i was responding to.

  31. #31 https://me.yahoo.com/a/MWWurZ0CqZYfRtRjMY8h.p_Yv5ML#586b6
    February 27, 2010

    I went to church today to see some old friends..

    The congregation prayed that gold would literally “extend his hand” and “hold back the tide” (tsunami).

  32. #32 raven
    February 27, 2010

    The first waves in Hawaii were expected to hit shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday (4 p.m. EST; 2100 GMT) and measure roughly 8 feet (2.5 meters) at Hilo. Most Pacific Rim nations did not immediately order evacuations, but advised people in low-lying areas to be on the lookout.

    They are saying 8 feet in Hawaii at 4:00 PM EST.

    Not gigantic but big enough to worry about.

  33. #33 vanharris
    February 27, 2010

    David, I’m not so concerned about right or wrong on this, but i feel for the unfortunates who may suffer disruption, fear, property loss, injury, or even worse.

    From a BBC news site, “The first waves in Hawaii are expected about 1100 local time on Saturday (2100 GMT) and measure about 8ft (2.5m).”

    I’ve visited some of the Hawaiian islands, & they do have mountains, but as you say, on some other islands, or inhabited atolls, there is no high ground. These atolls, as Darwin proposed, are on eroded or subsided mountains (volcanoes), so the shoaling effect could be significant.

  34. #34 Brian English
    February 27, 2010

    I knew there was a reason we left NZ were it is. A breakwater against Chilean Tsunamis. Thanks NZ.

  35. #35 burpy
    February 27, 2010

    How come God always seems to smite only the places that have fault lines? If I were a sodomite or some other such sinner, I would just go and live somewhere that didnt have any. Not so omnipotent now are you?

  36. #36 Alan B
    February 27, 2010

    http://www.prh.noaa.gov/ptwc/

    and then click on txt and you’ll get the text of the most recent tsunami warning. The most recent is 20:28 GMT (I have 21:20). We should be due another message shortly. Remember to refresh first.

  37. #37 Nineveh
    February 27, 2010

    They probably made Jesus cry.

  38. #38 Ragutis
    February 27, 2010

    Tsunami action appears to be beginning to affect NZ. This seems to be a few hours later than expected, so Hawaii could still be a while away from feeling any effects.

    http://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/article.aspx?id=111430&fm=newsmain,nrhl

  39. #39 Ragutis
    February 27, 2010

    And of course, as soon as I hit submit, CNN reports confirmation that the tsunami is beginning to affect the Big Island.

  40. #40 Xenithrys
    February 27, 2010

    Brian @ 34

    That was my first thought too; and you’re welcome, but be ready when we get a big one here in NZ.

    There are reports of 1.5 m fall & rise on Pitt Island (Chatham Is, a few hundred km east of NZ) and sea level fell 1 m at Napier (North Island east coast)

  41. #41 https://me.yahoo.com/a/x1CsKko.p.keyee5Rk.DLZd7ts9OdS.ilqZgGw--#2a28e
    February 27, 2010

    Jeebus just told me why his dad hit Chile. It’s because of th Red Hot Chili Peppers. They sometimes perform in their underwear. They wear briefs, not boxers. God hates briefs–they remind him of that whole crucifixion image.
    I am now collecting money for the cause. Send me $50 and I won’t buy you any briefs for a year. Rates are higher for larger sizes.

  42. #42 ttread
    February 27, 2010

    The santimonious gloating has already begun: http://i.imgur.com/YYR6f.png (from reddit)

  43. #43 Davidpj
    February 27, 2010

    Here in Australia, they’re taking it relatively seriously – there’s helicopters buzzing up and down the coast and the emergency services are manning the beach. I was told to get out of the surf. No sign of anything yet though… sounds like it’s a bit behind schedule.

  44. #44 Peter H
    February 27, 2010

    It appears the tsunami in Hawaii was a non-event. Hopefully it will likewise be of minor or negligible consequence elsewhere also.

  45. #45 F
    February 27, 2010

    ttread @ 42

    Really. How incredibly stupid can people get? Just the way they are able to pack so much wrong into a single sentence is positively amazing.

  46. #46 ttread
    February 27, 2010

    F@45
    Funny thing is, Darwin actually did contribute to the prediction of this quake: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/02/did-darwin-predict-chilean-quake.html

  47. #47 Ellie
    February 28, 2010

    Here in Japan, we got the 10 cms predicted above. The response seemed a little over the top to me. I know it’s better to be safe than sorry, but surely when it passed Hawaii hours ago we could tell it wasn’t going to be huge?

    At Hawaii it was 1.5m high but we had full scale warnings pretty much along the entire coast with waves 3m high predicted. Why on earth would the wave suddenly double in height?!

    Take it seriously, by all means, but don’t cry wolf; next time people might decide not to bother evacuating.

  48. #48 Ragutis
    February 28, 2010

    Posted by: Ellie Author Profile Page | February 28, 2010 3:38 AM

    Here in Japan, we got the 10 cms predicted above. The response seemed a little over the top to me. I know it’s better to be safe than sorry, but surely when it passed Hawaii hours ago we could tell it wasn’t going to be huge?

    At Hawaii it was 1.5m high but we had full scale warnings pretty much along the entire coast with waves 3m high predicted. Why on earth would the wave suddenly double in height?!

    Take it seriously, by all means, but don’t cry wolf; next time people might decide not to bother evacuating.

    There are reports of a tsunami greater than a meter in parts of Hokkaido causing flooding and other damage, with further peaks expected. And considering what happened in 1960, I’d guess everyone decided to err on the side of caution.

  49. #49 llewelly
    February 28, 2010

    burpy | February 27, 2010 4:00 PM:

    How come God always seems to smite only the places that have fault lines?

    The Enormous Sodomy of the Continents outrages God more than any puny human sin.

  50. #50 negentropyeater
    February 28, 2010

    But how could God be outraged at something he causes ?

    No, no ,no, the only conclusion is that God is ok with sodomy as long as it doesn’t happen around fault lines or directly on the coasts. As we all know, God works in misterious ways and we are too limited in our intelligence to understand the fundamental reasons behind it.

    Which is why I chose to live where I live : to be able to practice ganepsy (God-approved-non-earthquake-provoking-sodomy).

  51. #51 Walton
    February 28, 2010

    The Enormous Sodomy of the Continents outrages God more than any puny human sin.

    So… tectonic plates collide with one another because they want to have anal sex? Now there’s a geological theory that would really make Alan Clarke’s head explode.

  52. #52 vanharris
    February 28, 2010

    Ellie, you ask why the wave might double in height. That can happen.

    Many years ago i designed a bridge-come-wharf situated in Lake Eerie. I had to design the structure to be resistant to wind-driven waves. I remember that one of the important factors affecting wave height was wave shoaling, caused by a reduction in water depth approaching the shore. Obviously, different locations have different seabed profiles, & some will have a greater shoaling effect than others.

    Then there are the effects of land masses that could channel a section of the wave into a narrower & therefore higher form, much like the tidal bores that occur in some locations (Bay of Fundy, Severn Estuary).

    I think that wind could possibly increase the wave height if it happens to be in the same direction, although i don’t know if this effect applies to waves generated by earthquakes. Wind gust speeds vary, and the wave train from an earthquake is unlikely to be synchronous.

    Anyway, I’m glad that the predicted tsunamis were not as severe as they might have been.

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