Checked the beach to the south
of town. There was a debris line just over the natural beach
berm. After asking a local resident about the day of the earthquake
we learned that there was a withdrawal of the sea here, but no
positive wave. She said the water never came over the berm on
the day of the tsunami, but it does come over the berm when the
swell is large and the tide is high. Since there had been quite
large surf and full moon high tides over the past few days, this
was what probably left the debris line. Other witnesses in the
area, those with clear views of the ocean from their slightly
elevated homes, all reported seeing a significant withdrawal
of the sea after the quake, but no positive wave of any consequence,
not enough to overtop the berm.
Just south along the coast from
Mollendo. Same story, no positive wave. However, at least one
resident has built a structure ready for a tsunami! (photo above,
Punta de Bombom
A large rounded river mouth point
area, about the same size as the river mouth area near Camana.
A very similar set up with mountains a few km from the coast
and farmland in the valley going right to the sea. The bridge
going to the other side of the valley was out (photo above, left),
so access from Mejia to Bombom was over a temporary bridge a
few miles inland and up and over the ridge on the other side.
A 30-min trip took 1.5 hrs. Getting to Bombom, we found the
same story, no evidence of a tsunami greater than the normal
tide fluctuation. Locals reported seeing the water recede, but
no positive wave. There was extremely strong shaking, reported
by the local farm workers and evidenced by the numerous liquefaction
sand boils throughout the fields. One of the men we talked to
said the shaking was very strong and that the sound of the earthquake
came very distinctly from the west-northwest, the direction of
Ocoña and Camana. He described it as a series of 'booms'
that came in from the sea, passed under him in the field and
continued inland to the mountains. He said when the shock hit
the mountains clouds of dust billowed up from the barren slopes.
The liquefaction boils bubbled out of the ground some 6 inches
and flowed black water. He said they were too scared to check
to see if the water was salty or fresh (go figure!). He also
said he had his family evacuate to the statue of Christ on the
hill overlooking the town when he saw the water retreat, but
that he stayed behind to care for the animals.