Register for the 2012 National Earthquake Conference

Online Registration is now OPEN for the National Earthquake Conference.  Register here.

With the theme of “Learning from the Past to Protect the Future,” the joint National Earthquake Conference and Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Annual Conference program commemorates the 200th anniversary of the historic series of strong earthquakes that struck the New Madrid seismic zone in late 1811 and early 1812. It will feature many lessons from recent and historic earthquakes that are applicable to the practice of U.S. professionals. The meeting is jointly hosted by EERI and the earthquake consortia*, and will consist of both plenary and concurrent sessions to ensure an abundance of offerings for engineers, scientists, emergency managers, and policy makers. Visit http://2012am.eeri.org/ for information about the program, the hotel, and how to submit abstracts for one of the poster sessions (deadline January 23).

Register by January 31: $395

January 31 to March 15: $450

After March 15: $550

It’s Beach Season in the Northwest: Are You Tsunami Ready?

After months of rain and gray skies, it’s time to pack up swimsuits and sunscreen and head to the Northwest coast. But beach visitors in our region need to prepare for more than sunshine. The Pacific coastline from northern California to British Columbia is at risk from a powerful offshore earthquake and resulting tsunami, events that are likely to cause many injuries, deaths and widespread property damage.

Coastal residents and visitors can reduce their risk from a tsunami simply by knowing when to get out of its path and how to reach safety.

What is the threat?

Tsunamis triggered by nearby earthquakes offshore, as well as distant tsunamis caused by earthquakes across the Pacific Ocean, have struck the Northwest coast. The source of the nearby quakes is the Cascadia subduction zone, which lies offshore from northern California to British Columbia. In this zone, two tectonic plates — the North America plate and the Juan de Fuca plate — come together to form an 800-mile long earthquake fault.

Scientists believe the most recent Cascadia subduction zone earthquake, a magnitude 9 event, occurred in January 1700. The best available evidence indicates that these earthquakes occur, on average, every 500 to 600 years. However, the years between these events have been as few as 100 to 300 years — meaning, all Cascadia residents, especially coastal residents and visitors, should prepare to experience a powerful and potentially damaging subduction zone earthquake in their lifetimes.

After a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake, a tsunami could arrive within 15 to 20 minutes, sending a series of massive waves crashing into the shoreline and flooding entire coastal communities.

How can beachgoers prepare?

Before you head to the coast, find out if your lodging and the places you will visit are in a tsunami evacuation zone. (Oregon and Washington residents can search for an address with this tsunami evacuation zone map viewer.) Once there, look for street signs or seek out evacuation maps that show local tsunami hazard zones and routes. It’s also a good idea to prepare personal disaster supply kits to take with you on any trip.

Signs of a tsunami

You may feel that a tsunami is on its way from the ground shaking that precedes it. Other signs include a sudden rise or fall in sea level or a loud roar like a jet aircraft. Once the shaking stops, move to higher ground or farther inland as quickly as possible. Do not wait for an official warning; a tsunami may arrive within minutes. Wait for emergency officials to issue the “All Clear” signal before returning to low-lying areas. Never try to watch a tsunami or surf a tsunami wave. Tsunamis travel faster than a person can run.

Should Northwest residents be worried about visiting the coast?

Be prepared, not worried. By knowing when and how to respond to a tsunami, residents can significantly reduce the risk to their loved ones and themselves.

More tsunami resources

CREW: Tsunami Mitigation and Preparedness in the Cascadia region

NOAA/National Weather Service Tsunami Ready Program

Oregon Tsunami Clearinghouse (evacuation maps and other resources)

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

Surviving a Tsunami: Lessons from Chile, Hawaii and Japan (U.S. Geological Survey)

West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

Webcast|Magnitude 9.0 Paradigm Shift: Post‐Disaster Reconnaissance of Tohoku, Japan

CREW is hosting a Webcast Series on Earthquake Recovery and Mitigation over the next year. This series will assist in the delivery of information and model community recovery and mitigation practices across national and international borders. Through communication and sharing, the webcasts will enhance development projects, foster collaborative leadership opportunities and reduce collective Research & Development costs while creating holistic outcomes.

Webcast | Magnitude 9.0 Paradigm Shift: Post‐Disaster Reconnaissance of Tohoku, Japan, presented by Jay Wilson

This presentation highlights the catastrophic impacts from a M 9.0 earthquake and tsunami to coastal areas of NE Japan. Discussions address the loss of emergency and other government functions and observations from the perspective of a local emergency manager from Oregon. Will Oregon make this paradigm shift before or after the coming Cascadia event?

Jay Wilson has been a professional emergency a manager since 1997 and his career has focused on hazard mitigation. He has been the Hazard Mitigation Coordinator for Clackamas County since 2008 and he currently serves on the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Commission. Jay has previously worked for Oregon Emergency Management as the Earthquake, Tsunami and Volcano Program Coordinator, with FEMA as a reservist for Community Outreach and Education for Mitigation and also for the Cities of Oakland and Berkeley as an Earthquake Program Coordinator.  Jay holds a MA in Geography and a BA in Film.

Northwest Begins Work on Earthquake Early Warning System

A research grant announced Tuesday will allow seismologists to take the first steps toward an early warning system for earthquakes in the Northwest. An operational system is still a long way off, but it could eventually resemble the computerized warnings pioneered in Japan.  The $2 million grant from the Moore Foundation to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network is part of a $6 million grant shared by the University of California Berkeley, Caltech, and the USGS.  Prototype systems should be completed within the 3-year grant period.