11 March 2011

Tsunami Update

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii has widened its tsunami warning to include most of the Pacific Ocean region, including South America. The warning issued Thursday at 0730 GMT follows a massive 8.9 earthquake that has struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. It includes Russia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific coast of South America, including Mexico, Chile and Peru.

In Guam, authorities are urging those residing along coastlines to seek high ground after a tsunami warning was issued for the U.S. territory. The agency says that people are advised to evacuate low areas and seek ground higher than 50 feet above sea level and 100 feet inland. The agency says the tsunami is expected to hit in about 14 hours or 7 a.m. Saturday. The U.S. territory of the Northern Marians Islands was also under the warning.


A shockwave from an X-Class flare hit the earth during a 24 hour window of when Japan was hit by the quake. There have been connections to heightened solar activity being one of the many possible triggers of earthquakes. One meteorologist has studied geomagnetic field patterns in space weather since the early 2000s. "I may just be a weather guy, but solar weather has had my interest for years when I noticed the connection. Many past quakes have been connected with solar flare events, including other events such as Gamma Ray Bursts, or GRBs. I am pretty certain these have connections to triggering earthquakes, however I do not yet understand it. Japan's activity may not have happened if it was not for the solar flare activity. Others in weather laughed at me for years for what I worked on in quake triggers, however this just may help put that to rest". (NOAA tsunami graphic showing the travel times from the epicenter of the quake)

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