According to the USGS, a potent 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck just east of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, off the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. While the earthquake did trigger multiple tsunami alerts from across the Pacific, including from the Honolulu, Hawaii-based National Weather Service Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), there does not appear to be any tsunami threat from this earthquake. The earthquake struck at 1:31 pm Pacific Time / 10:31 am Hawaii Time from a depth of 10 km.
According to both the PTWC and the National Weather Service National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) in Palmer, Alaska, there is no threat of tsunami from this earthquake across the U.S. West Coast, the west coast of Canada, Alaska, nor Hawaii. In a bulletin issued by the PTWC, they advised people in Hawaii, “based on all available data, a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.” The National Weather Service National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) in Palmer, Alaska issued a similar bulletin to the North American west coast, saying “there is no tsunami danger for the U.S. West Coast, British Columbia, or Alaska. Based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records, the earthquake is not expected to generate a tsunami.”
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.