Tsunami may have hit US East Coast earlier in June (Update)

Jun 25, 2013

Scientists suggest a rare tsunami may have hit the U.S. East Coast earlier this month.

Tsunami-like conditions were observed June 13 at more than 30 tide gauges along the East Coast, Bermuda and Puerto Rico, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday. The highest peak amplitude was recorded in Newport, Rhode Island, where it reached just under 12 inches (304 millimeters) above sea level.

"We're trying to piece this back together," said Mike Angove, head of NOAA's tsunami program.

Angove stopped short of saying it was a tsunami, but acknowledged it had specific characteristics of one. NOAA's West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center posted a statement calling it a tsunami.

A strong storm moved through the region and offshore that day, and scientists were trying to determine if it played a role.

Brian Coen was spearfishing in New Jersey on June 13 when he saw a strong outrush of water as the tide went out, according to a description provided by NOAA. He said it carried divers over submerged rocks that serve as a breakwater. Then he saw an approximately 6-foot (1.8-meter) wave come in. It carried the divers back over the breakwater and swept three people off rocks that are usually up to 6 feet above sea level. Two needed medical attention.

Angove said one possibility is a rare meteotsunami, a tsunami caused by weather. Or it could have been caused by a landslide off the continental shelf, which is less rare but still uncommon, he said.

He hopes to send a boat with sonar out to the shelf to look for a landslide and help determine what happened.

Explore further: New signs of eruption at Iceland volcano

4.3 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Calculating tsunami risk for the US East Coast

Apr 19, 2013

The greatest threat of a tsunami for the U.S. east coast from a nearby offshore earthquake stretches from the coast of New England to New Jersey, according to John Ebel of Boston College, who presented his findings today ...

Tsunami observed by radar

Aug 16, 2011

The tsunami that devastated Japan on March 11 was picked up by high-frequency radar in California and Japan as it swept toward their coasts, according to U.S. and Japanese scientists. This is the first time that a tsunami ...

GPS solution provides 3-minute tsunami alerts

May 17, 2013

Researchers have shown that, by using global positioning systems (GPS) to measure ground deformation caused by a large underwater earthquake, they can provide accurate warning of the resulting tsunami in ...

US West Coast ready for more Japan tsunami debris

Dec 25, 2012

(AP)—Volunteers who patrol California beaches for plastic, cigarette butts and other litter will be on the lookout this winter for debris from last year's monstrous tsunami off Japan's coast.

Bin in Hawaii confirmed to be Japan tsunami debris

Sep 22, 2012

(AP)—A large plastic bin is the first confirmed piece of marine debris from last year's Japan tsunamis to arrive in Hawaii, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.

Japan experts warn of future risk of giant tsunami

Apr 01, 2012

(AP) -- Much of Japan's Pacific coast could be inundated by a tsunami more than 34 meters (112 feet) high if a powerful earthquake hits offshore, according to revised estimates by a government panel.

Recommended for you

New signs of eruption at Iceland volcano

3 hours ago

Teams monitoring Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano have found evidence of a possible underground eruption as powerful earthquakes continue to shake the area, Icelandic authorities said Thursday.

NASA sees a weaker Tropical Storm Marie

4 hours ago

When NOAA's GOES-West satellite captured an image of what is now Tropical Storm Marie, weakened from hurricane status on August 28, the strongest thunderstorms were located in the southern quadrant of the ...

TRMM analyzes Hurricane Cristobal

4 hours ago

NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission or TRMM Satellite provided a look under the hood of Hurricane Cristobal as it continues moving north and paralleling the U.S. East Coast. NASA's HS3 hurricane mission ...

User comments : 0