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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


An Earthquake measuring 8.3 on the Richter scale struck in the Pacific off American Somoa this morning. The subsequent Tsunami is reported to have caused at least 14 deaths in American Samoa and neighbouring Islands as residents of the went clambering for higher ground as the Earthquake induced Tsunami thundered towards Somoa.

A Tsunami leaves residents searching through the mud

Somoa is no stranger to Earthquake and Tsunami activity. On March of 2009 this Volcanic Eruption off the coast of Tonga resulted in a Tsunami warning

Mase Akapo, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, says the deaths occurred in four different villages on the main island of Tutuila, with six in the western area of Leone. An unspecified number of people also were killed in neighboring Samoa.

The American Somoa Earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean, off the cost of Somoa at 6:48 AM local time Tuesday. The epicentre of the Somoa Earthquake was midway between the two island groups. The U.S. Geological Service has estimated the magnitude of the Samoa Earthquake to be at least 8.0. The American Somoa Earthquake is said to have taken place 35 kilometers (20 miles ) below the ocean floor, 190 kilometers (120 miles) from American Samoa and 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Samoa, with a 5.6-magnitude aftershock which occured approximately 20 minutes after the main Earthquake off the coast of Somoa.

As a result of the earthquake off the coast of Somoa, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a Tsunami alert for the South Pacific region, from American Samoa to New Zealand. There are reported to be indications a tsunami wave could cause some severe destruction along some coastlines. Hawaii was put under a tsunami watch, and five emergency shelters were opened in preparation for the potential for a Tsunami to hit the Hawaiian Islands.

A five-foot tsunami wave, resulting from the Earthquake off the Coast of Somoa, quickly swept into Pago Pago, capital of American Samoa. The Tsunami came quickly after the earthquake, not leaving much time for the locals to respond. The wall of water surged onto the Island of Somoa for about 100 yards before receding. The resulting field of debris ad mud left vehicles stuck and caused wide spread electrical outages.

Tsunami Waves have the ability to reach great heights

The powerful Earthquake off the coast of American Somoa threw resident out of bed and was reported to have lasted at least 2 minutes "It's the strongest I have felt, and we ran outside. You could see all the trees and houses were shaking," a local person said over the radio.

Talking about the Tsunami Sulili Dusi told New Zealand's National Radio "everything dropped on the floor and we thought the house was going to go down as well. Thank God, it didn't." She said the tsunami hit the south side of the island, and some "cars have been taken." She did not elaborate, but added "we just thank God no life has been taken yet."

Police in the area's at risk for further Tsunami activity are sending everybody up to high ground. Local media said they had reports of some landslides in the Solosolo region of the main Samoan island of Upolu and damage to plantations in the countryside outside Apia.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Honolulu issued a tsunami warning for numerous islands in the Pacific, including the Samoas, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, French Polynesia and Palmyra Island. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also posted a tsunami watch for Hawaii, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, Solomon Island, Johnston Island, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Wake Island, Midway Island and Pitcairn.

In New Zealand, a tsunami alert was issued by national Civil Defense, and the nation's national emergency center was activated.

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