BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Scientists have concluded that there is a 9 percent chance for a massive tsunami to hit Hawaii sometime in the next 50 years. A magnitude 9 earthquake would possibly strike the Aleutian Islands. This is enough to create a devastating tsunami.
The study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, only a month ago. The research was conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Hawaii – Manoa, using a novel computer model. They devised a numerical model, integrating fault system measurements. It was validated through seismic data. The five largest earthquakes in the world recorded history were used into validation. The researchers explained that although the five earthquakes had different details, the results were massive tsunamis.
Tsunamis are enormous sea waves that erupt and hit land. This cataclysm is caused by either an earthquake or a volcanic eruption.
The research took five years, leading to the discovery that there is a small nine percent chance for Hawaii to be affected by a tsunami. Although it is not a high figure, when it comes to the lives of so many inhabitants and tourists, officials have to stay on guard. The scientists behind the study admitted that earthquakes large enough to form tsunamis are rare. Still, they believe there is a chance for a tsunami to strike Hawaii in this lifetime.
In the case of a tsunami, the people on the Aleutian Islands would have little time to evacuate as it might take as long as four hours to reach higher ground.
The Aleutian Islands is a chain of small islands that stretch from the coast of Alaska toward Russia. The archipelago sits along a subduction zone. Scientists believe that there is a chance of a slip along the fault lines, and it could cause a massive tsunami to hit Hawaii. An estimated 300,000 Hawaiians could be at harm, and the material damage could go as high as $40 billion dollars.
The team of researchers is now attempting to determine what is the level of risk that Hawaii faces if a tsunami were to happen anywhere else in the Pacific. They are now planning to include smaller earthquakes around the Pacific region in further analysis.
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