Latest Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Stories
SYDNEY (Reuters) - A major earthquake measuring 7.3 in magnitude shook parts of Papua New Guinea on Friday, but there were no immediate reports of damage and a tsunami was unlikely, officials said.
Indian Ocean nations agreed on Friday to share real-time seismic data, despite some security sensitivities, and to set up seven regional tsunami warning centers instead of one.
Japan on Thursday launched a stop-gap plan for alerting Indian Ocean nations of impending tsunami: it will send them a fax within half an hour, an official said.
Tsunami experts could not understand why Monday's forceful earthquake off Indonesia failed to produce massive waves similar to those generated by the Dec. 26 quake that killed at least 175,000 people in the same region.
Hawaii is among the most tsunami-ready places in the world. When an alert is issued, beachside sirens go off and urgent messages are flashed on television and broadcast on radio. Evacuation maps on telephone book covers point people to higher ground. But most of the time, no damaging tsunami hits the shore.
While the deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean has focused attention on that part of the world, great waves also pose a threat to the United States.
Scientists predict killer tsunamis could strike the Caribbean, which lacks a warning system even though its seabed is gouged by some of the world's deepest trenches, where the giant waves can be generated by tectonic activity, and its low-lying islands are heavily populated along their coastlines.
Until two weeks ago, Smith Thammasaroj was a prophet without honor. As chief of Thailand's meteorological department in 1998, he was accused of scare-mongering when he warned that the country's southwest coast could face a deadly tsunami.
The United States is moving on several fronts toward a global tsunami warning system following the Asian catastrophe. A design is emerging from the State Department's Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN) for protecting huge populations in coastal areas.
For scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, the world's most powerful earthquake happened below the wrong ocean.
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