Pacific tsunami warning test reveals glitches
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the earthquake zones.india Updated: May 17, 2006 17:32 IST
The first region-wide test of the Pacific Tsunami Warning System, involving dozens of countries, took on an air of reality as several earthquakes hit the region, seismologists said on Wednesday.
A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck off the coast of New Zealand's Kermadec Islands late on Tuesday, just hours before the test began, the US Geological Survey reported.
A 6.8 magnitude earthquake then struck near Indonesia's Nias island at 2058 IST yesterday and two temblors of magnitude 5.8 and 6.0 struck Tonga after the exercise began at 1900 GMT with a mock 9.2 quake off Chile, the USGS said.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii, which launched the test exercise, said none of the earthquakes triggered genuine Pacific-wide tsunami warnings, but the two biggest could cause small local tsunamis.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the earthquake zones.
The tsunami warning system test is part of an effort to beef up defences following the December 26, 2004 killer waves that swept across countries in the northern Indian Ocean, killing around 220,000 people.
The first phase of the exercise, code-named Pacific Wave '06, had been successful, a spokeswoman for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said from the warning centre in Hawaii.
"It's gone very, very well so far," said Delores Clark. "They've contacted each country that is participating -- there's over 30 countries participating -- and just about every single one of them have received the bulletins.