National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC), NOAA Satellite and Information Service

Alternate Views: Get Data, FAQ, ISO Rubric, DOI Rubric, CSW, HTML, Components, XML

Papua New Guinea Tsunami, July 17, 1998

browse graphicThe sand spit where the Arop village stood. Waves flattened the house foundation posts and younger coconut palms. A pool of water near the lagoon marks a depression where cavitation effects of the waves have removed houses and soil.
On the evening of Friday July 17, 1998, a magnitude Ms 7.1 earthquake occurred near the northwest coast Papua New Guinea 850 km (510 miles ) northwest of Port Moresby, the capitol of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The earthquake, which occurred at 6:49 PM local time, was followed by a series of three catastrophic tsunami waves that devastated the villages of Sissano, Warupu, Arop and Malol on the north coast of PNG killing at least 2,182, injuring 1,000, and displacing more than 10,000. The villages of Arop and Warupu were entirely destroyed. Aitape and Malol were demolished or damaged. Survivorswere reportedly lifted off their feet, tossed around, and stripped of their clothes. Some victims were found impaled on mangrove stumps, andothers received deep cuts from metal debris. Several lessons were immediately obvious from this tsunami: Ground shaking and loud sounds from the sea provided tsunami warnings that were largely unheeded by area inhabitants unfamiliar with tsunamis. Spits between lagoon areas and the sea are particularly prone to damage from tsunamis and should be avoided in rebuilding after the tsunamis. Trees and mangroves apparently exacerbated rather than reduced the impact of the waves with the exception of coconut palms. Tsunami energy is not dissipated by lagoons. The most likely cause of the tsunami is a sediment slump 25 km offshore caused by the earthquake. This event is the largest known tsunami ever to have occurred in the area although the tsunami/earthquake history dates only from 1900.

Cite this dataset when used as a source.

Search and Download
    Distribution Formats
    • TIFF
    Distributor DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
    Point of Contact Heather McCullough
    DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
    (303) 497-3707
    Heather.McCullough@noaa.gov
    Documentation links not available.
    Originator
    • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce (comp)
    Publisher
    • National Geophysical Data Center
    Date(s)
    • publication: 1999
    Edition: First
    Dataset Progress Status Complete
    Data Update Frequency: Not planned
    Purpose: To provide long-term scientific data stewardship for the Nation's geophysical data, ensuring quality, integrity, and accessibility.
    Time Period: 1998-07-17  to  1998-07-17
    Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates:
    N: -2.9
    S: -2.9
    E: 141.9
    W: 141.9
    Spatial Coverage Map:
    Themes
    • EARTH SCIENCE > OCEANS > Coastal Processes > Erosion
    • EARTH SCIENCE > OCEANS > Ocean Waves > Tsunamis
    • Disasters > Catastrophic phenomena > Seismic sea waves
    • WDC/MGG, BOULDER > World Data Center for Marine Geology and Geophysics, Boulder
    • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
    Places
    • Papua New Guinea
    Use Constraints
    • Access Constraints: None Use Constraints: None Distribution Liability: While every effort has been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of the current state of the art, NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data, nor as a result of the failure of the data to function on a particular system. NOAA makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty.
    Access Constraints
    • Access Constraints: None Use Constraints: None Distribution Liability: While every effort has been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of the current state of the art, NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data, nor as a result of the failure of the data to function on a particular system. NOAA makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty.
    Fees
    • None $195.00/145.00 plus handling
    Lineage Statement Lineage statement not available.

    Metadata Last Modified: 2011-04-06

    For questions about the information on this page, please email: Heather.McCullough@noaa.gov