Photos and Notes from the
- Survey team arrives
in Port Moresby, PNG.
August 1, 1998
- Survey team met
with Japanese survey team in WEWAK. Joined the party and now
have departed by boat.
August 2, 1998
- The western members
of the team set sail from WEWAK and measured 4 runup points
on nearby islands. This location was over 100 km from the epicenter
and experienced small sea level fluctuations. Reported hearing
the sound of breaking waves and water rushing over the offshore
reefs. This was reported to have occurred approximately 15 to
30 minutes after the earthquake.
August 3, 1998
- The survey began
in AITAPE, 2 runup points were measured of over 3m each. We
were given permission to enter SISSANO lagoon and measured 10m
runups and wave height. The damage is extensive. The entire
lagoon is full of debris. Media reports of damage around SISSANO
lagoon were not exaggerated. Overland flow depth of 12m were
recorded. Entire place has been swept clean by the wave, leaving
only trees. We explored the lagoon by boat and damage is extensive.
We spent the night anchored, offshore of SISSANO lagoon.
August 4, 1998
- We continued
to survey the SISSANO lagoon area, this time venturing to the
west side of the lagoon and main village. Water flow depths
of over 5m were recorded at 400 m inland. All buildings were
destroyed. The day also included several helicopter sorties
over the affected area. From this vantage point, we were able
to see the extreme inundation. In the afternoon, another point
was surveyed about 8 km to the west and here we also fouind
evidence of 7 m flow depth on the beach. The team spent the
night anchored further west offshore of the ARNOLD river.
August 5, 1998
- Survey began
at ARNOLD river, west of SISSANO lagoon. Watermarks were found,
indicating runup of 3-5 m with some extreme values observed
on the western bank. A helicopter overfly was conducted westward
up to SERAI village. This was followed by swinging the boat
westward to SERAI. Runup values diminished to 1.5 m or less.
The survey stopped at this point because the coastline changed
drastically at this area with cliffs and very steep rock beaches.
Also, there were no reports of damage or runup further west.
The team returned eastward and sampled point between SISSANO
and the ARNOLD river. Dr. John Nott left the team with a stylish
James Bond exit. He arranged for a helicopter working in Aitape
to pick him up off the beach and fly him to Vanimo. Very smooth.
After dark, we returned to AITAPE and anchored there for the
August 6, 1998
- The final day.
The day was spent briefing relief officials and making presentations
at local school and hospitals. The intrepid Dr. DeLange and
Boyd Benson made a mission to Tumleo Island offshore of Aitape.
Evidence of 4 m reunup and movement of large coral blocks were
found. Several houses and boats on the island were also destroyed,
but no one was killed or injured. Residents reported that NO
ONE (not even PNG relief officials) had come to the island to
check on their status. (the island is approx. 1 mile from shore).
At 4 pm we were underway for the 14 hour voyage to Wewak.
August 7, 1998
- Arrived in Wewak
at 6 am. Immediately transferred to the airport and caught a
flight to Port Moresby. Also caught the last flight to Sydney
(barely we were on standby). Said our goodbyes to Dr. De Lange
in Brisbane as he jetted to Auckland. Stayed the night in Sydney
August 8, 1998
- Departed Sydney
at 12 pm arrived in LA on the same day 4 hours earlier than
we left! Now updating the page at 4 pm LA time. Dr. Synolakis
will be returning Monday after giving a final briefing to PNG
authorities on Saturday. There will be a web page with photos
up by 9 am monday Los Angeles time.