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Watch How Tuesday's Tsunami Waves Moved From Chile All the Way to Australia

A computer model shows how the tsunami crossed the Pacific

smithsonian.com

Tuesday's deadly Chilean earthquake, a magnitude 8.2 quake that hit off the country's western shores, also triggered a tsunami that sent people rushing from coastal regions.

The tsunami caused only limited damage, unlike, for instance, the one that hit Japan in 2011. But, whenever a tsunami is generated, it's not just coastal stretches in the immediate vicinity that are at risk. Tsunami waves can cross oceans, sometimes arriving as much as a day after the event that caused the waves.

In the video above you can see the model forecast of how the tsunami from the Chilean earthquake was expected to have moved across the Pacific. The forecast was done by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a branch of the National Weather Service, and it's complex, near-real time computer simulations like these that give residents in Hawaii, New Zealand and other far-off reaches the warning time they need to decide whether or not they need to prepare for what would have been, previously, a surprising freak wave.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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