The National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says there’s no threat across the Pacific from a strong earthquake that struck the Philippines tonight. At 10:14 pm Hawaii Time / 3:14 am Eastern Time, an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.2 occured in Mindanao, Phillipines.
“Based on all available data, there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake,” the Honolulu, Hawaii-based Tsunami Warning Center wrote in their last information statement on the earthquake. They added, “This will be the only statement issued for this event unless additional data are received or the situation changes.”
Had there been a tsunami threat from this earthquake, advisories could have been issued for Hawaii and the U.S. and Canadian West Coast.
Tsunamis are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. Out in the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not dramatically increase in height. But as the waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights as the depth of the ocean decreases. According to the National Ocean Service, the speed of tsunami waves depends on ocean depth rather than the distance from the source of the wave. Tsunami waves may travel as fast as jet planes over deep waters, only slowing down when reaching shallow waters. While tsunamis are often referred to as tidal waves, this name is discouraged by oceanographers because tides have little to do with these giant waves. The location, depth, movement, and intensity associated with today’s earthquake wasn’t enough to trigger a tsunami from today’s earthquake.