On April 1, 1946, shortly after sunrise, the town of Hilo on the island of Hawai'i was devastated by a series of giant waves. Traveling 2,300 miles from the Aleutian Islands in less than five hours, the waves struck without warning and claimed 159 lives. Fourteen years later, on May 22, 1960, a massive earthquake occurred off of the coast of Chile. The earthquake generated giant waves that sped across the Pacific at 442 miles per hour, reaching Hilo in just fifteen hours. The first wave to hit the town was a modest four feet higher than normal, the second nine feet. Before the third wave could arrive, a tidal phenomenon known as a bore smashed into the Hilo bayfront, with thirty-five foot waves that wrenched buildings off their foundations. That day several city blocks were swept clean of all structures and 61 people died. The first edition of Tsunami!, published in 1988, provided readers with a complete examination of the tsunami phenomenon in Hawai'i. This second edition adds many eyewitness accounts of the tsunamis of 1946 and 1960 and expands its coverage to include major tsunamis in the Mediterranean and off the coasts of Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Fiji, Alaska, California, Newfoundland, and the Caribbean, as well as the 1998 devastation in Papua New Guinea. Dramatic photographs and accounts of experiencing a tsunami firsthand are placed within the framework of the how and why of tsunamis, our scientific understanding of these phenomena, and the current status of the Tsunami Warning System, which is widely used to forecast and measure tsunamis and prepare coastal areas for potentially deadly tsunami strikes.
Subjects: Aquatic Sciences
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