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Post Info TOPIC: Hawaii Quake


L

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RE: Hawaii Quake
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The W. M. Keck Observatory is recovering from a 6.6-magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks that struck off the west coast of Hawaii Sunday morning at 7:07 a.m. HST. The earthquake was the largest to hit Hawaii in 20 years and caused power and communication failures across the state. There were no injuries at W. M. Keck Observatory and all personnel are safe.
The Observatory has cancelled observing through Wednesday night and Observatory personnel are in the process of bringing the facility into a safe state. The telescopes and instruments will be returned to full functionality as soon as possible.

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L

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The Subaru telescope status is under investigation.

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L

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A fairly serious earthquake happened Sunday morning near Waikoloa, on the west side of the Big Island. At magnitude 6.6 this was a much stronger earthquake than we are accustomed to here in Hawai'i. Shortly after the event Gemini had staff on the summit to assess the damage to the telescope. We will provide updates as they warrant and information becomes available. Following is a brief status report as of 9:30 AM HST, Monday, October 16, 2006:

* Generator power and the UPS systems were activated shortly after the earthquake to restore the helium compressors and instrument cooling systems. This quick action kept the instruments cold and we do not anticipate a lengthy period of time to cryo-cycle them.
* Hawaiian Electric Company (HELCO) restored stable power to the summit at ~2:30 PM HST (Sunday, October 15). We have switched over to HELCO power as part of the process of bringing all systems back on-line.
* Visual inspections of the Mauna Kea control room, telescope structure, and dome indicate no major damage to Gemini North. That said, the observatory clearly shook hard during this event and there is evidence that the telescope moved on the hydrostatic bearing surfaces (w/out oil of course). There is also evidence that the earthquake restraint system may have engaged as well, this being the ultimate fallback to prevent the telescope from tipping over on the main support pier.
* The telescope was closed on Sunday night (October 15). Extensive tests need to be performed to determine if the telescope was damaged and this will require considerable time to complete. We are doing this using a full crew that went up on Monday morning. We need to methodically evaluate the condition of all enclosure, building, telescope and subsystems to make sure we (1) understand the true state of the telescope and (2) don't make matters worse by exercising them prematurely.
* It is likely that it will take several days until we are ready to resume regular science operations at Gemini North assuming that no serious damage is found in our assessments over the next 24-48 hours.

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L

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A strong magnitude 6.3 earthquake occurred at 17:07:48 (UTC) on Sunday, October 15, 2006, in the Hawaii Islands region, about 14 km NNW of Kalaoa, Hawaii.
The hypocentral depth was estimated to be 24 km.

Location 19.842N, 156.059W

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