tsunami

 

The 8.3 Chile earthquake Wednesday caused a tsunami that moved across the ocean and rolled onto Kodiak beaches early Thursday afternoon in a tiny tidal wave.

A 6.7-inch wave from the earthquake splashed Kodiak beaches at 10:47 a.m. Alaska time, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center.

A tidal gauge near the airport records the water level in Kodiak and showed the bump of the wave.

“The Kodiak tide gauge looks very smooth and it fits very well with the tidal elevation,” said Kara Gately, senior watchstander at the NTWC. “When we de-tide it, you can easily see little oscillations ranging up to the maximum of 17 centimeters.”

Gately said if a person was standing on the beach at the time of the wave, they most likely would be able to notice it.

“It really does depend on your harbor,” Gately said. “I was able to see the tsunami arrival in Chignik Bay off the (Federal Aviation Administration) weather cams.”

Chignik Bay saw a wave of almost five inches, and Gately said she noticed the water level lowering just before the small wave arrived.

The largest wave from the Wednesday night earthquake was recorded in Coquimbo, Chile, where a 15.2 wave struck while smaller waves were recorded in other areas of the South American-country.

A tsunami advisory was issued for California and was later lifted.

Gately said Alaska just missed having an advisory issued.

“It was forecast right under the levels (for an advisory),” Gately said. “We expected to see currents but no inundation.”

Advisories are issued when waves are forecasted at between one and three feet. Above three feet is when a warning is issued.

Other changes a person could potentially see when a tsunami is occurring are an increase in the current and changes in watercolor.

King Cove saw the largest wave in Alaska with a 10.8-inch wave. Other coastal towns in Alaska that recorded small waves were Port Alexander, Yakutat, Atka, Nikolski, Sand Point, Seward, Unalaska and Alitak Bay.

Julie Herrmann is a staff reporter at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at 486-3227 ext. 627.

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