Sunday | November 19, 2017
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What are the chances? Scientsts peg possibility of large tsunami hitting Hawaii

A new study estimates there is a 9 percent chance a mega-earthquake will strike Alaska’s Aleutian Islands in the next half century.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of at least 9, would be strong enough to send a devastating tsunami toward Hawaii.

An earlier report published by the state of Hawaii estimates that disaster would generate nearly $40 billion in damage and impact more than 300,000 people.

The University of Hawaii announced the results of the new study Friday.

UH says the chance of such an earthquake hitting the Eastern Aleutian Islands, the worst-case scenario for Hawaii, is 3.5 percent in the next 50 years.

The team of researchers say the study can help officials better plan for these natural disasters.

To validate their model, they looked at the five largest earthquakes to hit the Aleutians since 1900 and “paleotsunami data” in Hawaii.

“These five events represent half of the seismic energy that has been released globally since 1900,” said Rhett Butler, lead study author and UH-Manoa geophysicist. “The events differed in details, but all of them generated great tsunamis that caused enormous destruction.”

The team is looking to extend the analysis to smaller earthquakes in the magnitude 7-8 range around the Pacific region.

 

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