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
♦ 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
♦ 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
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
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
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
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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Last Revised November 2007