Sunday, 28 October 2012
Hawaii hit by tsunami triggered by Canada quake
A tsunami triggered by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake thousands of miles away in Canada has hit the island chain of Hawaii, with no damage reported so far.
Emergency sirens sounded late on Saturday to alert residents around the islands that make up Hawaii.
The first waves were reported to be up to 2.5ft (76cm) in one area.
Wave heights of three to six feet were predicted in some areas, as "urgent action" was advised to protect lives.
There were no immediate reports of damage on the Canadian coast following the earthquake.
Tsunami alerts that were issued for coastal areas of Alaska and British Columbia were swiftly downgraded.
The quake hit 125 miles (200km) south-west of the Canadian mining town of Prince Rupert at a depth of 11 miles (18km), said the US Geological Survey.
Initially, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said it did not expect a threat beyond the immediate area.
But later it said: "A tsunami has been generated that could cause damage along the coastline of all islands in the state of Hawaii."
First waves had been predicted to hit the archipelago around 22:30 local (08:30GMT).
"Urgent action should be taken to protect lives and property," the warning said.
After the first wave struck, Hawaii's Lt Governor, Brian Schatz, tweeted that water was now receding in Hilo Harbour, on Hawaii or 'Big Island'.
He also reminded people that the first wave was not usually the biggest, and that surges could continue for six to seven hours.
Initial local media reports from around the islands suggested that wave heights recorded so far had generally been about six inches, with 2.5ft in one place.
Hawaii is made up of hundreds of islands, spread over some 1,500 miles.
People living in areas considered to be at risk were urged to move to higher ground.
Wave heights of three to six feet have been predicted in some areas, with the biggest waves expected in Hilo, Kahului, Haleiwa and Hanalei, local media reported.'Everything moving'
The quake struck the coast of western Canada at around 03:00 GMT and was followed by a 5.8 magnitude aftershock.
People in coastal areas of Canada's Haida Gwaii archipelago - formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands - were reportedly being moved to higher ground as a precaution.
Urs Thomas, operator of the Golden Spruce hotel in Port Clements, close to the epicentre, said the initial quake lasted about three minutes.
"It was a pretty good shock," he told Associated Press. "I looked at my boat outside. It was rocking. Everything was moving. My truck was moving."
A resident of the mainland town of Prince Rupert, Grainne Barthe, told AP: "Everything was moving. It was crazy. I've felt earthquakes before but this was the biggest. It was nerve-wracking. I thought we should be going under a table."
Following the quake, small waves measuring 69 cm (27 inches) were reported on the north-east tip of Haida Gwai, while parts of the north-east coast of Vancouver Island saw waves up to 55cm high.
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