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January 2008
Waiakea, Hawaii
Pacific Tsunami Museum Archive Photo; 1960 Hilo, Hawai'i     Inoue Collection

This photo was taken after the May 23, 1960 tsunami in the Waiakea area of Hilo, Hawai'i.

On May 22, 1960, a 8.6 earthquake off the coast of south central Chile generated a tsunami which traveled across the Pacific Ocean reaching as far as Japan. This main shock was recalulated to have a moment magnitude of 9.5. Earthquake moment, Mw, is a measure of earthquake size related to the leverage of the forces across the area fault slip.

A devastating tsunami struck the town of Hilo, Hawai'i on May 23, 1960 at 1:05am, fifteen hours after the earthquake in Chile. Much of the damage occurred in Hilo, Hawai'i, where 61 people were killed and about 540 homes and businesses destroyed. Estimated damages totaled over $23 million. The section of Hilo known as Waiakea was almost completely demolished and had to be cleared after the tsunami. Project Kaiko'o, meaning "Rough Seas" in Hawaiian, established a greenbelt in areas of Hilo hardest hit by tsunamis. hilo and waiakea

To see more photos of the 1960 tsunami in Hawai'i see Archive photos; 1960.

Let us not forget.

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Last Revised January 2008