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October 10, 2010, Is Los Angeles at higher risk for tsunamis? A study just published in Nature Geophysicas by Hornbach et al (2010) reports that the 12 January 2010 strike-slip earthquake that killed over 220,000 people in Haiti also triggered a 3m tsunami. The associated press release (at the end of this item) claims that the study implies that Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas around the world are at higher risk of tsunamis. Press Release.

Haiti 12 January 2010 The 12 January 2010 Haitian earthquake killed over 220,000 people, but also generated a deadly tsunami. Preliminary results were presented by Professor Hermann Fritz at the Spring 2010 meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Some information can be found in Nature News

Solomon Islands 3 January 2010 An International Tsunami Survey team by Professor Hermann Fritz (Georgia Tech) and Nikos Kalligeris (Technical University of Crete) surveyed the impact of the tsunami from Jan 11-17. They found 5 to 7m runup on a more than 10km stretch of south Rendova Island and measured order 1m runup on Simbo. Work is in progress to analyze measurements, photos and videos from the event.

Anniversary of the 2004 Megatsunami - goes largely unnoticed. The 5 year anniversary of the 26 December 2004 tsunami came and passed without much fanfare. We were all painfully reminded of tsunamis within the first two months of 2010 with the Solomon Islands, Haitian and Chilean tsunamis, that combined may have killed over 400 people, largely unnecessarily, given that tsunami preparedness works, and forecast technology is now available.
Nature, 31 December 2009

Second Generation of Tsunami Inundation Maps for California released The second generation of tsunami inundation maps for the State of California were released on December 17, 2009 at a press conference at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, California. The maps are a product of a collaboration between the Tsunami Research Center, California Emergency Management Agency and California Geological Survey. A link with a list of coastal counties with available maps to download can be found here.

The simulations that provided the inundation data for the maps were performed by Professor Aggeliki Barberopoulou. Inquiries regarding the simulations or the production of the maps can be directed to Professor Barberopoulou barberop at For general questions regarding map production, methodology you may contact the Director Professor Synolakis and Professor Barberopoulou.

The inundation mapping project of the State of California was featured on the cover article of EOS transactions of the American Geophysical Union published on April 21, 2009.

A. Barberopoulou, J.C. Borrero, B. Uslu, N. Kalligeris, J.D. Goltz, C.E. Synolakis and R.I. Wilson,(2009), New Maps of California to Improve Tsunami Preparedness, invited feature article, EOS Transactions AGU, 90 (16), 137-138. Click here for the article.

South Pacific tsunami Sept 29, 2009
A shallow earthquake of magnitude 8.3 has occurred south of Samoa, in the general region where the 1918 Samoa earthquake occurred. A tsunami was generated and measured 1.5m in the Pago Pago tide gage. 111 dead have been reported and the death toll may rise. NOAA's Center for Tsunami Research has projected a very small sea level variation in Hawaii and the Regional Tsunami Warning has been cancelled by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The graphic shows MOST projections for Hawaii. A tsunami advisory for California, and Oregon was issued and cancelled within minutes based on the NOAA-PMEL projections.

For more information on this event check 

For a description of the 1917 event  158. Okal, E.A., J.C. Borrero, and C.E. Synolakis, The earthquake and tsunami of 17 November 1865: evidence for far-field tsunami hazard from Tonga, Geophys. J. Intl., 157, 164-174, 2004. 

The Mediterranean does not have a tsunami warning system, yet. There is no tsunami warning system in Europe despite UNESCO's efforts to coordinate countries to form a regional center, as UNESCO did for the Pacific. Read our opinion about Europe's tsunami of inaction as published in the Wall Street Journal, here. Click here for the article.

Dec 16, 2005 - The Scientific American published in its January issue and extensive article on the 2004 meagatsunami, The wave of change. The article may be available to subscribers at

Dec 13, 2005 - The Governor's Seismic Safety Commission has released its report on tsunami preparedness in the State of California. The report identifies several shortcoming in emergency preparedness, particularly for the port facilities. It is important to note that the Governor's Office of Emergency Services is continuing its effort to develop inundation maps at high resolution from multiple tsunami events for California, as the State budget permits. It is expected that the next post-Sumatra release of inundation maps will be more hazard specific and will allow for easier implementation of tsunami warnings. Download the report here.

Dec 6, 2005 - Professor EMile Okal estimates that 1/24,000 people in the world died in the 26-December-2004 megatsunami, giving the megatsunami the unfortunate distinction of the worst natural hazard in the past two centuries in terms of numbers of deaths normalized by the population of the world.

Dec 6, 2005 - During the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, certain projections about a possible rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone were presented by a group which has never modeled tsunamis of such scales before. USGS's Dr. Brian Atwater noted that these projections of 40m runup were about four times higher than earlier projections that corresponded to findings from sedimentologic studies. These new projections led some to question if the impact of a Cascadia event along the West Coast of the US is adequately understood and accounted in inundation maps. The TRC notes that these high estimates have not been validated through the customary scientific peer review process, and probably relied on source models that might not be entirely realistic, or used unvalidated models. There have been extensive studies on Cascadia already using validated models, and the new findings are neither new nor findings. The same group presented projections for southern Sumatra, again with exaggerated fault lengths that do not reflect geophysical reality. While the southern Sumatra segment of the Sumatran Subduction Zone is not as well understood as Cascadia, the TRC is of the same opinion as their findings on Cascadia. The TRC notes that inundation maps are urgently needed in Southern Sumatra to allow emergency planning for a repeat of the 1833 earthquake, but these maps need to be based on the best available science for the sake of the people at risk.


The USGS had a special site on Cascadia. The complete USGS report of Dr. Eric Geist from where this graphic is extracted is here.

Dec 14-16, 2005 - Second Session of the IOC Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (Hyderabad, India, 14-16 December 2005)

Nov 21, 2005 - UNESCO holds meeting in Rome for the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North Eastern Atlantic

Oct 26-27 - Special meeting of the Royal Society on Extreme Natural Hazards

Sept 9, 2005 - Dr. Vasily Titov and others from the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory published their findings on the Global Reach of the 26-December-2005 tsunami in SCIENCE, please download directly from the Science site it is the most comprehensive article on the megatsunami hydrodynamics published since 26 December 2004. The figure below is from Titov et al, 2005. (click image for a larger view).

titov Hydronamics