SAFRR Tsunami Scenario

Science Center Objects

The third SAFRR scenario is initiated by a magnitude 9.0 megathrust earthquake in the eastern Aleutian Islands, an event presenting a hypothetical but plausible distant-tsunami threat to southern and central California. USGS and other federal and state agencies entities developed the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario. The scenario describes wave heights, current velocities and inundation for the coast of California. Physical damages and disruption are estimated for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, marinas, near-coast roadways, and coastal property. Population vulnerability is evaluated for the inundation zone. These analyses are further translated into environmental, ecological, and economic implications to inform options for public policy, emergency preparedness, mitigation, and response. The tsunami scenario development began in January 2011 and was  published in September, 2013 prior to a series of workshops for the coastal counties.

Hazards Societal Consequences and Risk Communication Contributions

For the SAFRR Tsunami scenario, WGSC coordinated analyses of population vulnerability and economic consequences. Nate Wood let the exposure assessment of population, public places and businesses in the scenario inundation zone (Fig.1). Jeff Peters and Jamie Jones provided GIS analyses support across the scenario analyses (Fig. 2). Anne Wein coordinated input from the ports about economic reilience with economic consequence modeling for the state of California (Table 1). Anne Wein oversaw an evaluation of the SAFRR scenario development process and communication of the scenario to emergency managers.

Map of Balboa Island, CA estimated tsunami inundation

Figure 1. Map showing inundation zones for the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario and the statewide maximum zone, as well as estimated residential population counts (based on 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data) for island communities in Newport Beach, California. (Credit: Nathan Wood, USGS. Public domain.)

Map of the Port of Los Angeles, CA, Tsunami Scenario velocity

Figure 2. Map of estimated tsunami-related wave force and inundation extent in the Long Beach, CA. area, as modeled using the Next Wave tsunami scenario development model. (Credit: Jeff Peters, USGS. Public domain.)

Table of SAFRR Tsunami Scenario estimated economic losses

Table of SAFRR Tsunami Scenario estimated economic losses (Credit: Anne Wein, USGS. Public domain.)