Tsunami Awareness & Preparedness in Cascadia Region

CREW is committed to raising awareness of the tsunami risk in the Cascadia region while promoting mitigation and preparedness. Many lessons have been learned from the March 11, 2011 Great East Japanese (Tohoku) earthquake and tsunami – these also apply to the seismically-similar Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The following links provide additional information on ongoing awareness and preparedness activities in the Cascadia region:

Washington State

  • In a Seattle Times, CREW Vice-President John Schelling and CREW Treasurer Tim Walsh express the importance of ongoing awareness activities along with the scientific information needed to better quantify Cascadia’s risk.
  • Washington Emergency Management Division has more information on how to prepare to hazards in Washington state.
  • Project Safe Haven, completed in 2011, developed vertical evacuation options for the counties of Pacific and Grays Harbor.

Oregon

British Columbia

For more information on earthquakes, tsunamis, and how to prepare, please visit our pages on Earthquake Information, Risk Reduction, and read more in our Products and Programs.

If you have any questions, please Contact Us.

New publication on vertical-evacuation siting for Cascadia tsunami hazards

Researchers at the USGS, Sacramento State University and the Washington State Military Department recently published an article on how to compare sites for vertical-evacuation refuges to minimize loss of life from tsunamis associated with Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes. The case study of Ocean Shores, Washington, integrates refuge options derived at Project Safe Haven workshops, geospatial pedestrian evacuation modeling, and statistical methods to compare benefits and tradeoffs. The article is available online from the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420914000387. For more information, contact Nathan Wood, Portland, OR, 503-251-3291, nwood@usgs.gov.

314 Year Anniversary of the Great 1700 Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake

January 26, 2014 marked the 314-Year Anniversary of the last Cascadia Earthquake

SEATTLE— The last Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake occurred one hundred years before Lewis and Clark saw the Pacific Ocean. It was a time when native traditions spoke of the ground shaking and the waters rising. There were no bridges to fall and no schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure in tsunami inundation zones. It was a time when Cascadia was much more resilient than today. “The very advances that are the foundations of our modern communities create vulnerability along with convenience” said Michael Kubler, Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW) President. “The revised Cascadia scenario is a crucial tool for regional leaders to use in developing policies and plans for the next earthquake.”

Events over the last few years have expanded our understanding of earthquake science and the hazards faced by our region from a future Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. The Cascadia Subduction Zone extends along the coastlines of northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia. There’s no doubt that Cascadia is capable of producing earthquakes and tsunamis on the same scale as the magnitude 8.8 earthquake off Chile in 2010 and the magnitude 9.0 quake that devastated the east coast of Japan in 2011.

Cascadia’s last great earthquake occurred on January 26, 1700—stresses have been building on the fault ever since. While the full extent of the earthquake hazard was not realized until the 1980s, the Cascadia subduction zone is now one of the most closely studied and monitored regions in the world. “In 2005 CREW first published the Cascadia earthquake scenario, but so much new information has emerged that an update was needed” said Heidi Kandathil, CREW Executive Director. The newly updated Cascadia Scenario joins the list of other free products developed by CREW to help the region’s residents, schools, businesses, planners, and emergency managers prepare for future earthquakes. The Scenario and other materials are available online at http://tinyurl.com/m34v2ex.

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For more about CREW and the new Cascadia Subduction Zone Scenario, seeCascadia Factsheet.

Cascadia Great Earthquakes: Riddle of the Sands

Science Pub Portland – Mission Theater

Cascadia Great Earthquakes: Riddle of the Sands with Chris Goldfinger, PhD, director of Active Tectonics and Seafloor Mapping Laboratory College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.
More information can be found at: https://www.omsi.edu/sciencepubportland/111913
Event Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 – 19:00 to 21:00

Evacuation potential in SW Washington communities from Cascadia tsunami hazards

A new article in the journal Natural Hazards documents variations in population exposure in coastal communities of Pacific and Grays Harbor counties to Cascadia-related tsunami hazards as a function of modeled pedestrian travel time to safety. Results suggest that successful evacuations may be possible in some communities assuming slow walking speeds, are plausible in others if travel speeds are increased, and are unlikely in another set of communities given the large distances and short time horizon. Communities can use these results to help prioritize tsunami risk-reduction efforts, such as education and training in areas where evacuations are plausible and vertical-evacuation strategies in areas where they currently are not.

More information can be found at http://www.springerlink.com/content/a6177520x5k6080t/ or by emailing the lead author at nwood@usgs.gov.

New Japan Tsunami Evacuation Report

Following the tragic 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, New Zealand’s GNS Science in collaboration with Washington State Emergency Management and other stakeholders set out to further analyze the successes of the evacuation and messaging approaches used in this event. A key element of this research was to investigate both traditional tsunami evacuation strategies used in communities, schools, etc. as well as non-traditional approaches, such as vertical evacuation techniques and draw parallels with the concepts being applied in New Zealand, Washington, and elsewhere in the United States. The report can be found here.