Chile tsunami first reached Pichilemu, SHOA reports

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Arturo Prat Square in Pichilemu before and after the tsunami.
Image: Diego Grez.

Servicio Hidrográfico y Oceanográfico de la Armada de Chile (SHOA, Spanish for Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Chilean Navy) released a report last Tuesday amidst public criticism of its response to the tsunami that hit the coast of Chile on February 27. The agency recognized the difficulty of arriving at every member of its Maritime and Naval networks. It reported that the tsunami warning was activated at 03:51 local time (06:51 UTC), 17 minutes after the earthquake, due to the delay of an ONEMI operator, whose identity "was not possible to determine"; the operator sent the alert via fax.

The warning was ended at 04:56 local time (07:56 UTC) by SHOA director Mariano Rojas, who has since been dismissed.

Despite the late tsunami warning, the Army said that it was an "adequate time for emergencies of this nature, considering the time required to obtain the information on the epicentre and magnitude."

The tsunami arrived at the following times, as the Army reported:

  • Pichilemu: 03:48 (06:48 UTC); 04:15 (07:15 UTC).
  • Constitución: 03:49 (06:49 UTC); 04:17 (07:17 UTC); 04:50 (07:50 UTC); 05:20 (08:20 UTC).
  • San Antonio: 03:50 (06:50 UTC); 04:20 (07:20 UTC).
  • Talcahuano and Dichato: 03:54 (07:54 UTC); 05:30 (08:30 UTC): 06:00 (09:00 UTC); 06:40 (09:40 UTC).
  • Juan Fernández Islands: 04:25 (07:25 UTC); 04:40 (07:40 UTC).
  • Valparaíso: 04:51 (07:51 UTC); 04:50 (07:50 UTC); 05:20 (08:20 UTC): 05:40 (08:40 UTC).