Chile-Earthquake Tsunamis Smaller Than Expected—But Why?
Tsunamis that struck Japan and Hawaii following a massive earthquake in Chile were smaller than thought, and experts are only beginning to tease out the reasons why.
Tsunamis reached only 4 feet (1.2 meters) in Japan and 6.5 feet (2 meters) in the South Pacific island of Tonga, according to scientists. Tsunamis can often become monster waves of more than 100 feet (30.5 meters).
Furthermore, despite a massive evacuation of Hawaii, tsunamis in Hawaii measured only about three feet (one meter), too small to do any damage.
But this doesn't mean the tsunamis in Hawaii fizzled, said Costas Synolakis, director of the Tsunami Research Center at the University of Southern California.
Rather, he said, the tsunamis were only slightly smaller than the 4-foot (1.25-meter) waves predicted by computer