Monday, November 28, 2011

This Day in History November 29, 1975

Crack in Hilina Pali road, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Peter Lipman, U.S. Geological Survey

This is really a scary picture for me.  On this date in 1975, the largest local earthquake to hit Hawaii since 1868--aptly called Kalapana Earthquake of 1975(since this was the area in which the quake was located--Hawaii's southeastern coast). At 3:35 A.M. a 5.57 magnitude quake hit.  Aftershocks continued for several months afterwards.  A second, more powerful shock occurred about and hour later and measure 7.2.

Shortly after the earthquake, a tsunami reached 14.6 meters in height. Two campers died as a result.  Amazingly, these were the only two fatalities, and 28 other people were injured.  Because population density was so low in the area where it hit, damage was relatively minimal--about $4 million worth of damages (at least $13 million by today's standards, probably more).

The major disruption from the earthquakes/tsunami came due to displacement of the earth's crust, as evidenced by the opening picture.  I won't go into all the details--check out the links below.  It is actually that picture that looks scary to me.  Whenever I look at a significant crack in the earth's surface, I always think of the dissenters in Moses' time who were swallowed by the earth. It must be quite frightening to see the earth open up like that!  I am surprised at the low casualty rate.  I am also quite grateful for that because it seems like whenever a natural disaster occurs, there is a large number of deaths and property damage.  But it must have been scary all the same!

For more information, check out the following links:, Island of Hawaii, 1975


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