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Recent Alaskan Quake Too Deep to Create a Tsunami, But a More Shallow One Could

"Here in California, we always have to be aware that there is a tsunami threat coming from many different places," says USC Prof Patrick J. Lynett.

The tsunami in Japan. Patch file photo.
The tsunami in Japan. Patch file photo.

While a magnitude-7.9 earthquake in Alaska this week was too deep to unleash a tsunami, a University of Southern California researcher warned today that a similar, shallower temblor could potentially send destructive waves to California's coastline.

"Here in California, we always have to be aware that there is a tsunami threat coming from many different places. And so these types of events serve as reminders that when we see large earthquakes occurring ... we need to be aware, we need to be prepared," Patrick J. Lynett told Video News West,

Lynett, an associate professor in the Department of Engineering at USC, worked on a U.S. Geological Survey study last year that modeled how a magnitude- 9.1 earthquake could cause a tsunami that would damage California harbors and low-lying coastal areas.

He said a large quake from the Aleutian Islands could send waves that would cause flooding and strong currents in Southern California. In Northern California, there is a greater threat of very large waves and significant flooding, Lynett said.

"In particular, the local authorities in all of our coastal counties need to be ready to take action to prepare their residents for these tsunamis," Lynett said.

In Southern California, a tsunami could cause currents that are strong enough to pull ships off their moorings and cause a lot of damage to docks, he said. Southland beachgoers would not see a large breaking wave coming, according to Lynett, who said it "would look more like a gradual rise in the water in most places."

He added that coastline residents and visitors need to take note of tsunami hazard warning signs and listen to officials when they say to get off the beach.

"If you are in a beach area and there is tsunami coming that may flood the beach, you shouldn't be there," Lynett said.

According to the study, most of California's coast is protected by cliffs.

--City News Service


jeff s June 26, 2014 at 11:24 AM
Be afraid!! You know we all could die from a tornado, a fire, a new lab made flu virus... or a snake infestation... Be afraid all of you.. ...Next story please...
Stuart Ebert June 26, 2014 at 12:30 PM
You should be afraid. Killer tornado activity in the Midwest is serious. Just ask the citizens of Joplin, Mo. Brushfires are burning habitat and homes in the West. Florida Everglades are infested with 10 foot pythons. CDC researchers had serious accident with Anthrax recently. Here's the next story - CA runs out of water, crops fail.
jeff s June 26, 2014 at 01:10 PM
Stuart.. you are addicted to bad news and made up mainstream fear making garbage. Not saying bad things don't happen, just don't borrow trouble, and turn off your TV while you're at it..
M Charles Fogg June 26, 2014 at 09:19 PM
We have a baad problem here in Hermosa Beach. Powers greater than god are trying to OK drilling 30 oil wells and 4 deep toxic water injection wells. While the offshore production will produce plenty of saltwater, injecting it produces earthquakes in places like Oklahoma, it is a certainty to produce earthquakes directly below where the fault stresses are high. Besides beach subsidence, expensive beach homes now are threatened by tsunami. Imagine the property loss lawsuits. Worse than Redondo who only endured subsidence. Earthquakes will shear wells, blowout, wreck infrastructure, cause fires and explosions for the residents with zero setback. 20 feet from sidewalks children use coming and going to school.
Laura Tompkins June 26, 2014 at 09:31 PM
Wow. Fear-mongering. It's what's for dinner.

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