There has been a magnitude
7.6 8.0 quake near the Solomon Islands. The ABC is reporting that the Bureau of Met has issued a tsunami alert for the Australian Barrier Reef and Willis Islands and that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre has also issued an alert.
The centre said it had no confirmed information a tsunami was generated but said authorities should take appropriate action in response to the possibility.
Update 1: The BoM’s tsunami alert says:
Based on the magnitude and location of this earthquake, tsunami could start affecting these locations at the following local time: Willis Island from 0832am 02/04/2007
The Bureau is seeking confirmation that tsunami have been generated. Tsunami Warnings will be issued, if necessary, by the Regional Offices of the Bureau in affected States. People in coastal areas in threatened regions should then listen for further advice from state emergency service authorities.
Update 2: BoM has confirmed that a tsunami was generated, but the only measured height so far was at Honiara in the Solomon Islands with a 15cm zero-to-peak at 7:13am EST.
The Bureau of Met has its own Tsunami Alert Site and the alert now says:
TSUNAMI THREAT TO EASTERN AUSTRALIA and Willis and Barrier Reef Islands, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.
Update 3: The Tsunami alert now includes Tasmania.
TASMANIA TSUNAMI WARNING
Issued at 9:16am on Monday the 2nd of April 2007
For people in eastern coastal areas of Tasmania.
An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 8.1 occurred at 06:40 am EST near the Solomon islands [8.1S 157.2E] generating a tsunami.
A series of waves associated with this tsunami will impact Eastern Australia today, reaching the Eastern Tasmanian coastline from about 12:30 pm.
Dangerous waves and currents may affect beaches, harbours and rivers for several hours from the time of impact and low-lying coastal areas could be flooded.
The waves can be separated in time by between ten to sixty minutes and the first wave of the series may not be the largest.
People should keep listening to the local media for updated information and
advice and follow instructions and advice from emergency services
This warning will be updated by 11:00 am.
There is also an ABC news report about the tsunami alert that confirms that the Solomon Islands has been hit, though details of any damage are sketchy.
Willis Island Meteorological station reported NO noticable affect of waves at 9am by which time the Tsunami should have passed. They are checking to see if there has been any affect to beaches.
Update 5: The BoM’s reports for QLD are looking better again, Cooktown isn’t showing signs of a destructive tsunami meaning the overall chance of a destructive tsunami is lessened. The NSW warning is still fairly general though.
Update 6: The quake has been revised up to magnitude 8.0.
Update 7: It looks like the Solomon Islands may not have been this lucky, according to the BBC.
“There was 10ft of water rushing through town,” – Harry Wickham, Gizo
Update 9: The QLD alert now says:
TSUNAMI THREAT TO QUEENSLAND and Willis and Barrier Reef Islands has eased. No destructive Tsunami is expected. […] No reports of significant sea level rises have been received from the Northern Tropical Coast of Queensland. Some rises of about 20 to 30cm have been observed.
Update 10: As of 1350 EST the BoM is now saying that the tsunami alert has been cancelled.
Small surges in sea level height and minor abnormal currents have been detected along the Queensland coast.
It’s not as good news in the Solomon Islands though.
The quake, with a magnitude of 8.1 on the Richter scale, levelled buildings and damaged a hospital on Gizo Island, north-west of the Solomons capital Honiara, while a tsunami sucked homes into the sea as thousands of panicked residents fled for higher ground.