Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tsunami Evacuation Buildings: Another Way To Save Lives In The Pacific Northwest

Date:
October 28, 2009
Source:
Geological Society of America
Summary:
Coastal towns and cities in the northwest are woefully unprepared for a large-scale natural disaster. In response, geotechnical engineers are working to develop a series of tsunami evacuation buildings up and down the northwest coast. They would be the first buildings of their kind in the United States.

This shows a conceptual design for the Cannon Beach City Hall, a Tsunami Evacuation Building (Ecola Architects, 2008).
Credit: Photo courtesy of Yumei Wang, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

Some time soon, a powerful earthquake will trigger a massive tsunami that will flood the Pacific Northwest, destroying homes and threatening the lives of tens of thousands of people, says Yumei Wang, a geotechnical engineer at the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries in Portland.

Related Articles


The region's geology makes an earthquake-triggered tsunami inevitable and imminent in geologic time, Wang says, yet coastal towns and cities in the northwest are woefully unprepared for such a large-scale natural disaster. In response, she is working with public officials and stakeholders to develop a series of tsunami evacuation buildings up and down the northwest coast. They would be the first buildings of their kind in the United States. And construction, she urges, can't start soon enough.

"Unless we do this, we will have lots of people dying in a tsunami," Wang says. "That's not how we want our people to die."

Wang will present recommendations in a session titled, Risks and Realities: Current Advances in Understanding Societal Risk and Resilience to Natural Hazards, at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon in October.

A line of volcanoes from northern California to British Columbia marks the eastern edge of a fault system (called the Cascadia subduction zone), where one plate is wedged under another. Those plates shift like geological clockwork every few hundred years, producing earthquakes that shake the region. The last major quake along the Cascadia subduction zone occurred on January 26, 1700. It produced a tsunami that damaged coastal towns as far away as Japan.

The region's next big earthquake could happen any day now, Wang says, or it might not happen for several hundred years. When the day comes, a tsunami -- with inundation heights of 50 feet or more -- could hit the northwest coast within 10 to 20 minutes.

The standard emergency response in cases like these is to move people inland and uphill, but there are plenty of communities where people simply won't be able to evacuate in time, Wang says. The resort town of Seaside, Ore., for example, is low-lying with inadequate roads and bridges. Kids and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

In Cannon Beach, Ore., Wang has started meeting with officials to hold serious discussions on constructing the first tsunami evacuation building in the U.S. The building, a proposed rebuilding of the town's existing city hall, would have to be made of reinforced concrete with a deep foundation and strong columns, a post-tensioning structural system to keep it upright, an 18-foot tall first floor, and wave-dissipation structures in front and back, among many other design details.

Tsunami evacuation buildings won't be cheap. Wang estimates that the one in Cannon Beach would have an added cost of between $1 million and $2 million. But the building would provide a safe space that people could reach quickly and be ready for emergency response and long term recovery. Getting just one such building off the ground, Wang said, is a critical first step towards creating a network of buildings that will help save many thousands of lives.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Geological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Geological Society of America. "Tsunami Evacuation Buildings: Another Way To Save Lives In The Pacific Northwest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019134709.htm>.
Geological Society of America. (2009, October 28). Tsunami Evacuation Buildings: Another Way To Save Lives In The Pacific Northwest. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019134709.htm
Geological Society of America. "Tsunami Evacuation Buildings: Another Way To Save Lives In The Pacific Northwest." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091019134709.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

Aquaponics Turn Suburban Industrial Park Into Farmland: Hume

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Ancient techniques of growing greens with fish and water are well ahead of Toronto bylaws. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Madagascar Locust Plague Could Mean Famine For Millions

Newsy (Jan. 27, 2015) — The Food and Agriculture Organization says millions could face famine in Madagascar without more funding to finish locust eradication efforts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

Storm Slams New England, Spares Mid-Atlantic

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) — A howling blizzard with wind gusts over 70 mph heaped snow on Boston along with other stretches of lower New England and Long Island on Tuesday, but failed to live up to the hype in Philadelphia and New York City. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Mexico's Volcano of Fire Erupts Again

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — A huge plume of smoke shoots into the air as activity in Mexico&apos;s Volcano of Fire picks up again. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins