A review of historical data for Hawaii reveals that significant tsunamis have been reported for only four of twenty-six potentially tsunamigenic earthquakes from 1868 through 2009 with magnitudes of 6.0 or greater. During the same time period, three significant tsunamis have been reported for substantially smaller earthquakes. This historical perspective, the fact that the last significant local tsunami occurred in 1975, and an understandable preoccupation with tsunamis generated around the margins of the Pacific, all combine to suggest apparent deficiencies in: (1) personal awareness of what to do in the event of a possible local tsunami; (2) the distribution of instrumentation capable of providing rapid confirmation that a local tsunami has been generated; and (3) the subsequent issuance of timely warnings for local tsunamis. With these deficiencies, far more lives may be lost in Hawaii due to local tsunamis than will result from tsunamis that have originated along the margins of the Pacific. Similar deficiencies may exist in other areas of the world threatened by local tsunamis
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