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One for the Weekend: Of Moai and Tsunamis

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Contributing editor Jim Richardson is a photojournalist recognized for his explorations of small-town life. His photos appear frequently in National Geographic magazine.

Just a quick note while keeping up with the devastating earthquake in Chile. At the moment we are awaiting news of the tsunami that will hit Easter Island soon. It will be one of our first indications of what the rest of the Pacific might expect as the great wave radiates out from the epicenter off the coast of Chile.

Most of the people living on Easter Island are on high ground, but I'll be hoping they are all safe this morning. But these moai know the effects of tsunamis very well because they were swept away in 1960 by the enormous waves after a 9.5 earthquake in Chile. They were subsequently re-erected. Testimony to the enormous power of tsunamis. For the sake of everyone in the Pacific basin we'll hope this one is much less violent.

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