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Workshop Considers Alaskan Earthquakes as Possible Triggers of Hypothetical Tsunami for 2013 Preparedness Drill
On February 9, 2010, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists Holly Ryan and Stephanie Ross led an all-day workshop as part of initial planning for a tsunami-preparedness exercise to be run in 2013. This exercise will be a follow-on to the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project's Great Southern California ShakeOut of 2008, the largest earthquake-preparedness event in U.S. history.
The February workshop brought together members of the Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project's tsunami-scenario team and the USGS Tsunami Source Working Group, along with participants from academia, industry, and other government agencies. Thirty-three scientists met at the USGS center in Menlo Park, California, to consider a plausible source for a hypothetical tsunami that would threaten shores in southern California and around the Pacific Ocean. Specifically, they focused on the possibility of a large-magnitude earthquake in Alaska's eastern Aleutian or Shumagin Islands acting as a trigger for such a tsunami.
Overview talks covered past and likely rupture areas in Alaska (Roland von Heune, USGS emeritus), historical seismicity (Steve Kirby, USGS, Menlo Park), geodesy (Ken Hudnut, USGS, Pasadena, California), the gravity signature of seismic sources (Ray Wells, USGS, Menlo Park), and evidence for hydrated mantle beneath the subduction zone (Rick Blakely, USGS, Menlo Park). The California Geological Survey's Rick Wilson discussed their second-generation tsunami-inundation maps and the impact on California from tsunamis generated by earthquakes in the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone. Rich Briggs (USGS, Golden, Colorado) talked about this summer's planned fieldwork to study prehistoric megathrust tsunami deposits in Alaska—deposits left by tsunamis triggered by large-magnitude earthquakes along the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone. Diego Arcas (Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory [PMEL] of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]) presented NOAA's tsunami model, including scenarios of tsunami-generated currents in Los Angeles Harbor; and Hong Kie Thio (URS Corp.) discussed probabilistic tsunami-hazard analysis for southern California.
Arcas and Thio also joined a panel of tsunami modelers who showed their models, discussed similarities and differences in their approaches, and fielded questions from the rest of the participants. The other modelers on the panel were Aggeliki Barberopoulou (University of Southern California) and Eric Geist (USGS, Menlo Park).
Additional USGS participants included George Choy and Alan Nelson (Golden); Dale Cox (Sacramento, California); Amy Draut (Santa Cruz, California); Peter Haeussler (Anchorage, Alaska); and Ginger Barth, Sean Bemis, Jamie Conrad, Guy Gelfenbaum, emeritus Homa Lee, emeritus Willie Lee, Tom Parsons, emeritus George Plafker, emeritus Jim Savage, emeritus Dave Scholl, Ray Sliter, Steve Walter, and emeritus Tracy Vallier (Menlo Park).
Additional participants from partner organizations included Gary Greene (Moss Landing Marine Lab, Moss Landing, California), Roger Hanson (University of Alaska, Fairbanks), and Kevin Miller (California Emergency Management Agency [Cal EMA]). Mike Moore (USGS) video-streamed the talks, allowing Kate Long (Cal EMA) and Uri ten Brink (USGS, Woods Hole, Massachusetts) to listen in. Many thanks to Mike for providing that service! Videos of the talks will soon be available at the Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project Web site.
in this issue:
Tsunami Preparedness Drill
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