Researchers predict that in 50 years, if a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Aleutian Islands, there is a small possibility that a mega-tsunami will strike Hawaii. They estimate that it will cause about $40 billion in damage and around 300,000 people might be affected.

The mega-earthquake would cause a devastating tsunami to potentially sweep across Hawaii causing mass destruction.

Tsunami in Hawaii
Researchers estimate that in 50 years, a magnitude 9 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands could send a “mega-tsunami” to Hawaii. Credit:

Researchers from the University of Hawaii spent five years studying the earthquakes and tsunamis at the Aleutian Islands, just to acknowledge the chance and intensity of a mega-tsunami that could be devastating to Hawaii.

The Tsunami

Rhett Butler is a geophysicist and was the lead researcher of the project. Butler said that though mega-tsunami events are extremely rare, there is a chance that one may soon cause destruction in Hawaii.

Butler and his team set out to determine exactly how likely it is for a devastating tsunami to hit Hawaii within the next 50 years, where they noted that the increased tsunami risk is associated with an overdue mega-earthquake that could hit the Aleutian Islands anytime.

The second impact

Back in 1946, a tsunami devastated Hilo and killed 159 people. It was generated by an 8.1-magnitude earthquake, according to U.S. Geological Survey, off the Alaska coast. There was also a second tsunami that hit Hawaii in 2012 after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Canada and made move 100,000 people to higher grounds.

A “damage control” is also being prepared by the researchers of the University of Hawaii, where they are working with state Civil Defense officials, making plans to prepare for the mega-tsunami, also known as the Great Aleutian Tsunami, by developing new inundation maps for the citizens and authorities.

This damage control might also be useful to people in Hawaii since it will prepare them just in case the tsunami hits the island.

Source: Hawaii News Now