HAWAII: Ready & Waiting

On duty in Hawaii National Park early Election Day, Vulcanologist Gordon MacDonald noticed telltale marks on the seismograph. After some quick calculations, he phoned Hilo police about a severe and distant earthquake. Seismic sea waves, he figured, might hit the Hawaiian Islands in about three hours.

Meanwhile, Hawaii's new and elaborate tidal wave warning system had gone into action. From Arizona, and Sitka and Fairbanks in Alaska, reports from other seismographs were flashed to the Coast and Geodetic Survey's central clearinghouse for wave warnings on Oahu. The quake was plotted in the Kamchatka area.

On April 1, 1946,...

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