Mar
28
2005

New tsunami fears after 8.2 earthquake

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is urging evacuations of the southern provinces of Thailand after an earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale hit. The scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center fear another devastating tsunami. (The government of Thailand however, while televising warnings, has stopped short of ordering evacuations.)

The earthquake occurred at 11:09am (Minnesota time) and is considered a "great" earthquake—the most severe type. It happened along the same fault line that was involved in the December 26 quake and tsunamis.

Images from the quake

Read more about the December 26 tsunami.

USGS Earthquake report with map

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

bryan kennedy's picture

About three hours after the earthquake there does not seem to be any evidence for a tsunami having hit land.

This is a good time to remind everyone that the area affected by this quake and possible tsunami has no way of determining changes in the surface of the ocean. The warning buoys that alert the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center can not detect changes in the Indian Ocean. We can detect earthquakes from very far away, but have to have instruments right there to detect an actual tsunami. According to the warning released by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center:

THIS CENTER DOES NOT HAVE SEA LEVEL GAUGES OUTSIDE THE PACIFIC SO WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DETECT OR MEASURE A TSUNAMI IF ONE WAS GENERATED. AUTHORITIES CAN ASSUME THE DANGER HAS PASSED IF NO TSUNAMI WAVES ARE OBSERVED IN THE REGION NEAR THE EPICENTER WITHIN THREE HOURS OF THE EARTHQUAKE.

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bryan kennedy
Science Buzz Site Admin

posted on Mon, 03/28/2005 - 1:16pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

The U.S. Geological Survey has upgraded today's earthquake off the coast of Indonesia from 8.2 to 8.7.

So far, about 50 deaths have been reported on the island of Nias, near the quake's epicenter.

A tidal gauge detected a "small" tsunami in the Indian Ocean several hundred miles southwest of the quake, but the actual size of the wave is unclear. The tsunami threat for Indonesia and Thailand has likely passed, since waves would have reached those countries almost immediately. Warnings are still in effect for Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Sumatra, however.

Today's earthquake involves the same fault as the December 26 quake. However, the energy from this one was probably directed south of the areas hardest hit in December. Robert Cessaro, of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, says:

"So all that pressure to the north would have been relieved [by the December 26 quake]. We think this event probably ruptured to the south, with the beam of energy probably propagated to the south toward Mauritius and the Rodrigues."

The U.S. State Department says that U.S. posts in the region have been alerted and are reaching out to aid workers. Spokesman Adam Ereli said:

"We're applying what we've learned from the previous earthquake, so that we can be prepared to be responsive quickly and in a meaningful way."

posted on Mon, 03/28/2005 - 3:00pm

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