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1995 Pacific Tsunami
Information in this section is provided by the International Tsunami Information Center
Dr. Charles S. McCreery, Director
737 Bishop Street, Suite 2200
Honolulu, HI 96813-3213 (internet)
808-532-6422 (voice)
808-532-5576 (fax)
Important Notes:
♦ Magnitudes reported are moment magnitude, Mw, as reported by the US Geological Survey. Mw is similar to the well-known Richter magnitude but is more accurate for the large earthquakes that may produce tsunamis. ♦ Tsunami wave heights are given as peak-to-trough measurements from tide gauge records unless otherwise indicated. ♦ Runup height is the maximum measured height above sea level reached by the tsunami waves on land.
April 7, 1995 - An Mw=7.4 earthquake in northern Tonga produced a 30-cm wave at Pago Pago, Samoa and a 5-cm wave at Niue Island. No damage from the tsunami was reported. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) briefly issued a regional tsunami warning and watch based on the size of the earthquake, but canceled it later when wave height data was received from Samoa and Niue.
April 21, 1995 - An Mw=7.1 earthquake off the east coast of Samar Island in the Philippines produced a 10-cm tsunami at the nearby Legaspi tide gauge on the southern coast of Luzon, Philippines. No damage from this tsunami was reported.
May 14, 1995 - An Mw=6.5 earthquake located near the north coast of Timor Island in Indonesia produced coastal subsidence and possibly a small tsunami. An initial report from the region stated that 11 people had disappeared and there was damage to a number of houses and boats from a 4-m wave that swept inland 120m.
May 16, 1995 - An Mw=7.3 earthquake in the Loyalty Islands triggered the issuance of a regional tsunami warning and watch by PTWC. However, the alert was canceled when tsunami waves were not observed at the nearest tide stations.
May 27, 1995 - An Mw=7.1 earthquake in the northern part of Sakhalin Island, Russia, caused the collapse of many buildings and over 1500 deaths in Neftogorsk, a town of less than 3000 population. There were some reports of unusual wave activity by fishermen from nearby towns along the Sea of Okhotsk, but no tsunami was recorded on the nearest tide gauge at Nogliki.
July 30, 1995 - The port city of Antofagasta, Chile suffered an Mw=7.5 earthquake that killed three persons and heavily damaged over 300 buildings. The earthquake also produced a tsunami that was observed across the entire Pacific. The tsunami measured 2.8m at Antofagasta, Chile, 0.75m at Hilo, Hawaii, and 0.26m at Hachinohe, Japan. No major tsunami damage was reported in Chile, but the waves sunk two small boats and damaged several others in Tahauku Bay at Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning and watch for portions of the southeast Pacific shortly after the earthquake, but canceled when only relatively small waves were observed along the Chilean coast away from the epicenter. The epicenter was just a few hundred kilometers south of an earthquake in 1877 that produced a Pacific-wide tsunami with runups of 24m in Chile and 3.7m in Hilo, Hawaii.
August 16, 1995 - An Mw=7.4 earthquake occurred in the Solomon Sea near the island of Bougainville. It produced a small tsunami that measured 0.55m on the tide gauge at Rabaul, New Britain (this gauge had recently been restored to operation after being damaged by dual volcanic eruptions in 1993). A wave was also observed in the Pacific at Kwajalein, measuring 0.11m. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami watch and warning for nearby regions following the earthquake, but canceled when no significant waves were observed.
October 9, 1995 - A powerful earthquake, Mw=7.6, struck the coastal states of Jalisco and Colima in central Mexico, killing 39, injuring 200, and leaving nearly 1000 homeless. A tsunami was generated that hit nearby coastal towns only 7 minutes after the quake. Runups ranging from 2 to 5m were measured near Manzanillo following the temblor and a single fisherman was reported to have been killed by the waves near Navidad Bay. Local residents knew about the threat of a tsunami after the quake and quickly evacuated the near-shore region. However, some apparently returned after the first small wave and were swept by a second wave. The waves were also observed across a wide region of the Pacific, and measured 37cm in Hilo, Hawaii, 37cm in Pago Pago, American Samoa, 1.00m at Hiva Oa in French Polynesia, and 4cm at Southport, Australia.
October 18 & 19, 1995 - Two large earthquakes, Mw=6.9 and 6.6, struck the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan on subsequent days, producing tsunamis with runups measured on Kikai and Amani Islands averaging 1 to 1.5m, with a maximum runup of 2.6m. The waves were also recorded at Nakano Island, more than 200km away, with a peak-to-trough amplitude of 80cm. No damage was reported due to the waves except for minor damage to boats at Kikai and Amani.
November 1, 1995 - An Mw=6.6 earthquake struck northern Chile and was felt as far away as Mendoza Province in Argentina. No casualties or damage were reported. The earthquake generated a tsunami measuring 0.13m on the tidal gauge at Caldera, Chile.
December 3, 1995 - The southern Kuril Islands of Russia were hit with an Mw=7.4 earthquake that produced a tsunami recorded across the Pacific. Wave heights measured 44cm at Chichijima, Japan, 41cm at Midway Island, 31cm at Crescent City, California, 9cm at Hilo, Hawaii, and 7cm at Papeete, Tahiti. The tsunami was not observed on gauges in the Kuril Islands, because those gauges are not yet restored after having been disabled by the destructive tsunami of October 4, 1994.

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