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Author Topic: Earthquake  (Read 1429 times)

redcat

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Earthquake
« on: September 29, 2009, 10:39:27 PM »
there was a BAD earthquake and Sunami centered near American Samoa today. This is near Tonga where LJ lives. I hope all is well and he and his Wife and family are all safe.
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LJRead

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2009, 11:17:26 PM »
Thanks, Redcat - I read this after I posted about the tsunami in the wrong section (under UCE) - must have had my brain more shaken than I though!  Go to UCE if you care to read about it as I don't know how to repost it here easily.

Well, I did repost it below and deleted it from UCE - sorry for the inconvenience - a bit shook up listening to reports on the radio.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 11:35:35 PM by LJRead »
Lawrence J. Read
Vava'u
Tonga Islands
South Pacific

2002 Machismo, 2003 RE rickshaw with Thunderbird base

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2009, 11:24:02 PM »
Never a dull moment - this morning, early, Malia and I were sitting at our respective computers when an earthquake hit.  Not at all bad, but long lasting, and now we hear that a tsunami warning for Tonga was issued, but no damage in Vava'u, though some damage to Malia's home island of Lifuka in Ha'apai, the Tongan group of islands less than a hundred miles to the south.  No deaths there, apparently.

 Earthquake was said to be 7.9.  We are on the eastern edge of a tectonic plate which is moving to the west and tilted downward in that direction, so we get a lot of volcanism (including some new islands), a lot of earthquakes, but so far, few tsunamis.

Ha'apai is low and so is vulnerable, one of the reasons I live up here in Vava'u which is higher and hilly.

I looked out at the water a while ago and saw a weird turquoise slip of water, large in area and it moved out with the tide.  Figure it might be bottom stuff shaken up with the earthquake or tsunami.  Here are photos I took of it:, along with an older photo of our place (left of picture), for perspective.  It was taken from the top of the flat mountain you see in previous photos  (Mount Talau - highest peak in Tonga).

Lawrence J. Read
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Tonga Islands
South Pacific

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LJRead

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2009, 11:26:42 PM »
As mentioned, schools here closed, but I believe tsunami danger now past.  We are listening to the radio and heard an interview from Tongan living in Samoa - lot of damage there, mountain sides collapsed, lots of heavy wave action (tsunami?), fifteen people missing.  Will post later here when I learn more.
Lawrence J. Read
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Tonga Islands
South Pacific

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2009, 11:44:13 PM »
They did have some warning in Samoa after the earthquake, so people generally made their way up the mountain (this from American Samoa - no report from Western Samoa which is independent). All of Samoa is mountainous. Church bells started ringing early to warn the people and they actually saw the water go a long ways out and later return with heavy wave action.  Some injuries and some known dead there, no dead that i know about here, but we will be hearing from Malia's relatives in Ha'apai, so I can let you know later what we find.  Her island of Lifuka is literally only feet above the ocean - highest place probably less that forty feet -  but most lower than that - it is an atoll.
Lawrence J. Read
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Tonga Islands
South Pacific

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scoTTy

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2009, 12:14:33 AM »
good to see you / hear you Man..  8.0 is a monster. :o.  are you in the ring of fire..?

really happy to see you..   ;D

LJRead

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2009, 12:30:15 AM »
I suppose we are in a ring of fire, Scotty in that there are permanent volcanos spouting off every day, and some intermittent ones.

No much damage in Ha'apai, apparently, because the tsunami didn't go very high up, so just some homes along the water.

In the Niuas (Niuatoputapu and Niuafo'o) small islands to the north of us, and low, but the communication with them cut off so no news right now.  

Much of the damage is in Samoa as they got a double whammy, a monster earthquake which has sides of mountains collapsing and the accompanying tsunami.  Large Tongan population there with their own meeting halls and churches.  Samoa is fairly close (maybe 200 miles away) and Tonga ruled it for about 400 years in the past, so large Tongan influence there.  Also close relationships, even among the Royal Family with both Samoa and Fiji.  So what hits one place affects all.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2009, 03:39:05 AM by LJRead »
Lawrence J. Read
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Tonga Islands
South Pacific

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redcat

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2009, 01:16:58 AM »
Very Glad you and your family are safe LJ.
     Tony
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LJRead

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2009, 02:27:31 AM »
The death toll in Samoa now stands at fourteen, though I wonder if the hills have been searched yet, or are even accessible.

Radio here is calling on our islands to the north, the Niuas mentioned above, to try to get in touch as there is no word from them and they are close to the earthquake and tsunami, seemingly right in its path.  I think there is cell phone service going to up there, but something isn't right.  The Niua island of Niuafo'o is known as "tin can island' because in the old days, mail was simply dropped into the sea by passing vessels and picked up that way too.  Maybe we need to go back to that system!  They had a volcanic eruption up there some years ago and the population was moved down to our southern island of 'Eua, but many have now, finally, returned and resettled there.  They have a special kind of pandanus, for mat weaving, and a special seashell up there for decoration, both of which are highly prized.  We can also get a special kind of volcanic rock, perfect for umu use (underground oven), they don't break down like our limestone ones (none of this relative, of course, just blabbing on!!!)

I recall standing on a cliff in Hawaii's Big Island and looking down at the beautiful valley where a, I believe,' thirties tsunami wiped the place out, many having gone to the ocean as the water moved out, and then getting caught when it came in again.

So it was interesting when Malia's cousin Va'inga related that, with school out, everyone was aligned along the waterfront, waiting for the tsunami which had been announced.  Va'inga went and got her kids to come home, disbelieving that everyone would act in that way.

Then a report by our geology department to the effect that if a tsunami were to hit during off hours, when their good offices are closed, no one would be informed of a tsunami coming.  it seems that budgetary considerations means a part time warning system.

Government in in-action!!!

So how do we spend these anxious hours?  Painting the front porch naturally!
Lawrence J. Read
Vava'u
Tonga Islands
South Pacific

2002 Machismo, 2003 RE rickshaw with Thunderbird base

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2009, 03:13:32 AM »
  My thoughts are with you and you're country/islands.  Will.
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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2009, 03:37:38 AM »
Thanks Scotty, Tony and Will, and all of you others who no doubt feel some of the concern I do.  In fact, I was feeling a bit relieved, the tsunami had apparently left Tonga alone, but such was not to be the case, and the Niuas, mentioned just above, got hit hard, five known dead, six missing and ten percent of the buildings destroyed.  Thing is, this is another disaster, after the sinking of the MV Princess Ashika a couple months ago, and now I'm wondering how relief supplies will get there. With the Ashika they only had one supply boat per month, and now this.  They have a hard enough life up there as it is with few of the things we think of as necessities. I suppose the small Tonga Navy boat will be called out and generous New Zealand will no doubt pitch in.  New Zealand is responsible for another island up here Nuie, not to be confused with the Niuas, but also very close to us and hard hit a few years ago by a bad hurricane and still in recovery (wiped out the main buildings in town).  I'm hoping they are alright.

At this point I imagine you all will be getting more news there than I am able to with the vast news resources you have available.  My daughter just checked in from Utah and they are getting some news there, but then she is always way ahead.

And then there are the French islands of Wallace and Futuna and many others, but I think they wll be alright, since they are jtst to the northwest of us.

I decided years ago that I didn't want to live on a low atoll, but others do, year after year and decade after decade, and they seem to survive, at least most do.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2009, 03:40:43 AM by LJRead »
Lawrence J. Read
Vava'u
Tonga Islands
South Pacific

2002 Machismo, 2003 RE rickshaw with Thunderbird base

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2009, 03:43:56 AM »
Just looked in here when I read the news.  Glad to here that you and family are OK.

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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2009, 03:46:00 AM »
"Just looked in here when I read the news.  Glad to here that you and family are OK."

Andy


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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2009, 04:07:13 AM »
Good to hear you are ok.

on another note, are there any seaplanes that make runs to your islands. like old Grumman albatross and gooses...etc

It would seem to be a good Idea to use them in that area. Island hopping and all.
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Re: Earthquake
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2009, 04:41:24 AM »
Glad that Tonga didn't get hit to bad, and that you and yours are all right.
Samoa seems to be badly hit. possibly over 100 fatalities.
I think they were saying 6 - 8 m waves.
You are correct about aid starting for Samoa, our Govt is waiting for specific requests of what is needed from the Samoan Govt., but in the meantime have sent a Herc for SAR work and are loading up another Herc and 777 to leave tonight with some more help and supplies.

Those poor people, very sad thing to happen.
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