New tsunami hazard maps highlight threat facing seven California counties — even Napa Valley is at risk from killer waves
Kilauea, off Hawaii’s Big Island, is considered the most active volcano in the world. It last erupted in 1983.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Pacific Ocean waves are powerful, rolling and crashing with increasing frequency as a tsunami looms.
Some people fear they could arrive sooner than scientists predict.
As an earthquake on the Big Island in Hawaii this week struck with an 8.8 magnitude, killing two people and sending a 7.4-magnitude tremor to nearby Kilauea volcano, scientists and emergency officials said they were concerned about the potential for a giant wave that would wash across the state.
The big tsunami — a surge of water with a height of more than 3.2 feet (one meter) — could be the largest ever recorded in the world and would be far weaker and have a shorter period of time than the tsunami of 2011, when waves over a meter (3 feet) were reported in Japan.
The most recent tsunami in the United States was off the coast of Oregon in 1960, but it was measured only at about 2 feet, about 2 1/2 times as long as the Kilauea wave.
California’s most active volcano, Kilauea, last exploded in 1983. It has been sending up to 20 earthquakes a day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A powerful one Sunday killed a man and injured another.
“The earthquake could have a massive impact to the Big Island,” said Brian Johnson, a geophysicist at the University of Hawaii who is helping to develop data from three Kilauea’s seismic network. “It’s not good to have earthquakes like that going on.”
The U.S. Geological Survey is working with the state Office of Emergency Services and scientists from NASA to create maps of threat zones around the Big Island and