Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

West Coast tsunami warnings shouldn’t lull Oregonians to sleep, expert says

Date:
March 11, 2011
Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
The massive earthquake that rocked Japan on March 11 and generated a tsunami that inundated coastal cities at that island nation triggered alerts around the world. The Oregon coast was no exception.

The massive earthquake that rocked Japan on March 11 and generated a tsunami that inundated coastal cities at that island nation triggered alerts around the world. The Oregon coast was no exception.

Related Articles


Some Oregon coastal residents received reverse-911 calls. Others were alerted by police officers with bullhorns. Many watched events unfold on television. For the most part, says one expert, things went smoothly. But when a major subduction zone earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, he added, we won't have the luxury of many hours of warning.

"All that you have to do is look at the footage from Japan and realize that is exactly what could happen here," said Patrick Corcoran, an Oregon State University education and outreach specialist who has been working with coastal communities for several years on earthquake and tsunami preparation.

"We may have 15 to 30 minutes between the time an earthquake hits and a tsunami arrives, so Oregonians shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security," Corcoran pointed out. "What happened in Japan, in Chile, in Banda Aceh -- it will happen here. And it will be our turn to be in the bad place."

Corcoran works in Seaside on the northern Oregon coast where he said people were both "compliant and a bit confused" about the tsunami warnings. A few people went to emergency shelters, he said, and some 40 cars were parked at one evacuation site.

He said everyone living on the West Coast needs to expect the possibility of this type of event happening in our lifetime -- and to think specifically about what to do when an earthquake hits. The warning, he said, will be the earthquake itself.

"You need to drop and cover during the quake itself, and then immediately head to higher ground," Corcoran said. "Everyone needs to know specifically where to go -- whether you are at home, at work, out shopping or at your favorite bar. The general rule is to get to at least 50 feet elevation -- and 100 feet if you can.

"Families need to have plans -- for the parents and the kids -- and have those conversations today," he emphasized. "If the kids are at school and the parents are miles away, you have to trust that they will know what to do, or be told by their teachers to do the right thing, because you don't want parents crossing the inundation zone trying to reach their children. You have to have the discipline to stay put if you are safe -- and that discipline begins with being confident that all your family members know what to do in an emergency."

Scientists say there is more than a one-in-three chance that a major subduction zone earthquake will hit the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years.

New analyses by OSU marine geologist Chris Goldfinger and his colleagues have provided fresh insights into the Northwest's turbulent seismic history -- where magnitude 8.2 (or higher) earthquakes have occurred 41 times during the past 10,000 years.

The damage from such a quake could be catastrophic. Corcoran said Northwest residents need to understand that massive, widespread damage will make personal attention by emergency managers unlikely.

"People need to take personal responsibility for preparing themselves and their families for this inevitable event," Corcoran said. "Prepared people not only help themselves, they can help their neighbors, too."

Robert Yeats, a professor emeritus of geology at OSU, agrees that Oregon is in better shape now than in 2005, when one of the last major tsunami warnings took place.

"Then you had a bunch of people running down to the beach to take pictures, acting like idiots," Yeats said. "It was sort of a fiasco. Oregon coastal communities seem to be better prepared now, even though there's still work to do. Our building codes for new structures are much better than they used to be.

"Right now, Oregon is probably a leader in tsunami preparedness on the West Coast -- although that still doesn't compare to the level of work they've done in Japan," Yeats added.

More information on tsunami preparedness is available through Oregon Sea Grant -- a marine education and outreach program based at OSU. (http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/breakingwaves/)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. "West Coast tsunami warnings shouldn’t lull Oregonians to sleep, expert says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311165855.htm>.
Oregon State University. (2011, March 11). West Coast tsunami warnings shouldn’t lull Oregonians to sleep, expert says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311165855.htm
Oregon State University. "West Coast tsunami warnings shouldn’t lull Oregonians to sleep, expert says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311165855.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
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