On Tuesday morning around 6:30 AM an earthquake shook American Samoa, causing a massive tsunami to destroy the small village of Leone – killing nearly one hundred residents and causing countless others to go missing. The earthquake measured between 8.0 and 8.3 on the Richter scale, and President Obama has declared the situation a major disaster for the U.S. Territory with a population of 65,000. FEMA workers have already been deployed to bring aid.
Many residents received warning of the approaching tsunami waves and were able to move safely to higher ground. On Tuesday night tsunami warnings were issued for California and Hawaii, but have since been recalled. “Based on the location of the event being outside the Pacific Basin, the earthquake was not sufficient to generate a tsunami damaging to California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska coasts,” said a statement from the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center.
According to the WCATWC a second earthquake struck Sumatra, Indonesia at 3:16 AM Pacific Daylight Time on September 30 with a preliminary magnitude of 7.7. The earthquake’s epicenter was located about 33 miles west of Padang and killed more than 77 people.
It remains unlcear whether the two catastrophic events are related.
“The simple answer is we can’t speculate on a connection,” the U.S. Geological Survey’s Carrieann Bedwell told CNN in the following report. “Both are in highly seismic areas.”
More updates will be made as they become available.
The Transcript Below was issued by NOAA:
SEA LEVEL READINGS INDICATE A TSUNAMI WAS GENERATED. IT MAY HAVE
BEEN DESTRUCTIVE ALONG COASTS NEAR THE EARTHQUAKE EPICENTER. FOR
THOSE AREAS – WHEN NO MAJOR WAVES ARE OBSERVED FOR TWO HOURS
AFTER THE ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL OR DAMAGING WAVES HAVE NOT
OCCURRED FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS THEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES CAN ASSUME
THE THREAT IS PASSED. DANGER TO BOATS AND COASTAL STRUCTURES CAN
CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL HOURS DUE TO RAPID CURRENTS. AS LOCAL
CONDITIONS CAN CAUSE A WIDE VARIATION IN TSUNAMI WAVE ACTION THE
ALL CLEAR DETERMINATION MUST BE MADE BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES.
NO TSUNAMI THREAT EXISTS FOR OTHER COASTAL AREAS ALTHOUGH SOME
MAY EXPERIENCE SMALL SEA LEVEL CHANGES. FOR ALL AREAS COVERED BY
THIS CENTER…THE TSUNAMI WARNING AND WATCH ARE CANCELLED.
THIS WILL BE THE FINAL BULLETIN ISSUED FOR THIS EVENT UNLESS
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE.
THE WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER WILL ISSUE PRODUCTS
FOR ALASKA…BRITISH COLUMBIA…WASHINGTON…OREGON…CALIFORNIA.
An image of the earthquake that struck Sumatra at 3 AM September, 30, 2009.