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Tsunami surge brings spectators, little damage to L.A. beaches

February 27, 2010 |  3:14 pm

Waves generated from a tsunami hit the Southern California coast Saturday afternoon -- with little damage or drama.

While hundreds of people went to local beaches to watch the surge, the waves were difficult to detect for many.

The National Weather Service said there was a 2.2-foot surge in Santa Monica and a 3-foot surge in Ventura. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department reported minor damage at Ventura Harbor from several buoys washing away.

No other damage of any significance in Southern California has been reported.

Los Angeles County fire officials said they were not warning people to stay off beaches because they did not expect waves to rise more than 3 feet. The surges occurred during low tide, lessening the chances of problems.

The advisory was issued after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck about 200 miles southwest of Santiago, Chile, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Some witnesses on the Southern California coast said they noticed the tide receding -- which usually marks the beginning of a tsunami event. But they did not detect a major waves coming ashore after that.

--Rong-Gong Lin II and Shelby Grad

Map: This image shows the projected maximum heights in centimeters of tsunami waves as they spread from Chile across the Pacific Ocean. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration