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Tsunami hazards to U.S. coasts from giant earthquakes in Alaska

May 1, 2012

In the aftermath of Japan's devastating 11 March 2011Mw 9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, scientists are considering whether and how a similar tsunami could be generated along the Alaskan-Aleutian subduction zone (AASZ). A tsunami triggered by an earthquake along the AASZ would cross the Pacific Ocean and cause extensive damage along highly populated U.S. coasts, with ports being particularly vulnerable. For example, a tsunami in 1946 generated by a Mw 8.6 earthquake near Unimak Pass, Alaska (Figure 1a), caused significant damage along the U.S. West Coast, took 150 lives in Hawaii, and inundated shorelines of South Pacific islands and Antarctica [Fryer et al., 2004; Lopez and Okal, 2006]. The 1946 tsunami occurred before modern broadband seismometers were in place, and the mechanisms that created it remain poorly understood.

Publication Year 2012
Title Tsunami hazards to U.S. coasts from giant earthquakes in Alaska
DOI 10.1029/2012EO190001
Authors Holly F. Ryan, Roland E. von Huene, Dave Scholl, Stephen Kirby
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union
Index ID 70118533
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center