Visualizing the Spread of Chile's Tsunami

An oceanic model shows how far and wide last night's earthquake-triggered tsunami has traveled.

Fishing boats lie damaged by a small tsunami in the northern town of Iquique, Chile, after magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck the northern coast of Chile. (Cristian Viveros / Associated Press)

After last night's 8.2-magnitude earthquake in Chile, many countries went on high alert for an incoming tsunami. But how far and wide did the waves actually spread?

The folks at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had a good estimate shortly after the shaking stopped. The center, which is part of the National Weather Service, has a model that simulates the oceanic after-effects of a major quake. By their reckoning the tsunami bulldozed deep through the Pacific to hit Mexico, Hawaii, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. In the next couple of hours it might even reach Japan – which has issued an advisory for a tsunami of up to 1 meter – as this simulation is projected 30 hours after the event was triggered.

The animation ends with a projection of tsunami height for all the affected coastlines. The quake, said to have killed at least six people, is known to have generated 6.5-foot-high waves in Chile and nearly 2-foot-tall waves in Hilo, Hawaii. However, there have been no reports of major tsunami-related damage.

Top image: Fishing boats lie damaged by a small tsunami in the northern town of Iquique, Chile, after magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck the northern coast of Chile. (Cristian Viveros / Associated Press)

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