Tsunami waves reached Sydney beaches on this day back in 1960, after the biggest ever recorded earthquake off the coast of South America.
On May 22 1960 the worlds largest ever earthquake happened off Chile, with tsunami waves pushed out across the Pacific and reduced Australia some 11,000 kilometres away.
The Australian Geoscience division today tweeted some great insight into what happened here in Sydney when waves reached our shores.
According to CSIRO studies done after the earthquake, wave amplitudes of up to 0.85m were recorded and potentially reached much higher, up to 4.3m in isolated locations.
The report is now used by organisations like the SES in preparation for any future Sydney tsunami events.
Damage was limited primarily to vessel moorings, although the oyster industry did suffer some losses.
There were two unconfirmed reports of minor injury and some reports of people having to flee beaches and tidal rock shelves indicating that the tsunami did create a risk to life along the coast of NSW at the time.
According to the report mentioned above, all estuarine and other low lying coastal areas of New South Wales may be at risk of a tsunami in future.
Local, regional and distant tsunami may impact NSW.
Due to the remoteness from tectonic plate boundaries local tsunami would most likely be generated by submarine landslides. Bathymetric surveys have found numerous slope failures along the margin of the continental shelf and areas with potential for future slope failure, some of which are adjacent to major coastal population centres. (Glenn et al. 2008).
Regional tsunami that could have a destructive impact on NSW may be generated on a number of subduction zones in the South West Pacific. Th
ese are the New Hebrides Trench, the Tonga- Kermadec Trench north of New Zealand, and the Puysegur Trench south of New Zealand
The Chile earthquake of 1960 was recorded at 9.4-9.6 magnitude.
The resulting tsunami hit countries right across the Pacific Rim.
Ryan is Contributing Editor