Deadly Solomon Island tsunami highlights need for tsunami awareness here

tsunami hazard zone signIn the news today are reports that magnitude 8 earthquake hit near the Solomon Islands, generating a tsunami that is reported to have damaged dozens of homes in the South Pacific island chain. At least five people were killed.

The location of the quake is in the region of the boundary of two major tectonic plates, the Australia and Pacific plates — the Australia plate is being forced (subducted) beneath the Pacific plate. For background, see today’s scientific summary report from the USGS

Another major subduction, known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone, lies just off the coast of Washington state, which is why tsunami awareness is a focus of natural hazards planning efforts here. DNR and its Geology and Earth Resources Division work with federal agencies and local governments to prepare maps of recommended tsunami evacuation routes for many coastal Washington communities. We also map earthquake faults and hazards. Local and state emergency officials rely on these maps, in addition to data and estimates prepared by DNR’s geologists and other sources to plan their responses to earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters.

DNR’s interactive web portal also offers Washington State tsunami evacuation maps. We also co-developed a smartphone application that shows the danger zones and evacuation routes (in the future we hope to update the app. to provide alerts and other information).

More DNR tsunami safety resources…

DNR works closely with the Washington Emergency Management Division and other agencies, such as Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW), to prepare local populations for a tsunami using publications and local informational meetings. Learn More…

DNR staff create and publish:
Evacuation brochures for the outer coast and other at-risk areas,

Tsunami inundation maps for use by local governments and land-use planners (south coast, Elliott Bay, Tacoma, Bellingham, Anacortes–Whidbey Island, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Quileute, and Neah Bay).

TsuInfo Alert, a newsletter for tsunami scientists and emergency managers.

DNR’s Washington Geology Library maintains an extensive collection on the subject of tsunamis.

Other Resources:
West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Information
Providing information about tsunamis and earthquakes throughout Alaska and the West Coast.

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