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New video: ‘Tsunami Quests’ help coastal residents and visitors prepare for major earthquake and tsunami

Posted by: | June 8, 2017 Comments Off on New video: ‘Tsunami Quests’ help coastal residents and visitors prepare for major earthquake and tsunami |

Scientists say there is a 30 percent chance of a massive earthquake and tsunami striking the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years. One way coastal residents and visitors can prepare for such a disaster is to learn evacuation routes.

A new video from Oregon Sea Grant, “Tsunami Quests,” reveals how the program is helping coastal residents and visitors prepare. One way it does this is by teaching people how to create and use self-guided evacuation routes modeled after a treasure hunt.

In these hunts, which are called Quests, walkers follow a map and a series of educational clues about their surroundings to reach higher ground. At the end, they find a hidden box that contains a guest book and rubber stamp to mark their accomplishment. The aim is that by exploring these routes for fun in their free time, residents and visitors will later know where to flee in the event of a tsunami.

Background

In February 2016, Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) organized a series of workshops at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) in Newport, Oregon, to bring educators, state parks personnel, researchers and emergency management experts together to discuss how communities can prepare for tsunamis. Participants also learned how to help students create a tsunami Quest.

In the spring of 2016, workshop attendees imparted their knowledge to 120 Newport seventh-graders at HMSC. The students listened to presentations from engineers and geologists, studied tsunami inundation maps and interpretive signs, calculated how fast they would need to walk to escape, and learned about soil liquefaction. They also walked an evacuation route that starts at the OSG-operated Visitor Center at HMSC, which is expected to be flooded during a tsunami, and ends about a mile away, atop Safe Haven Hill. The students created a Tsunami Quest for that route and tested the activity on community members and two classes of fifth-graders in Newport. Their Quest is online (“HMSC Tsunami Quest,” http://bit.ly/2s0O1YI). To date, nearly 300 people have walked the HMSC Tsunami Quest.

Partners

Partners in the Tsunami Quests effort include the Lincoln County School District, Oregon State University, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Gray Family Foundation, and the OSUEA Hoecker Award.

Watch

You can watch the three-minute video here:

Tsunami Quests was filmed and edited by Vanessa Cholewczynski and Tiffany Woods.

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, courses, classes and workshops, earthquake, environment, events, free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, kids, marine education, marine safety, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, tsunami, videos
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New edition of Confluence now available

Posted by: | October 11, 2016 Comments Off on New edition of Confluence now available |

The fall/winter 2016 edition of Oregon Sea Grant’s semiannual newsletter, Confluence, is now available online. Articles you’ll find in this issue:

  • Guidelines help boaters enjoy watching whales without disturbing them;
  • University of Oregon study reveals why hypoxia hasn’t affected Coos Bay;
  • Simulator helps coastal residents prepare tsunami evacuation strategy;
  • Students get their feet wet in watershed science with StreamWebs;
  • Oregon Sea Grant helps prepare coastal kids for high-tech jobs; and
  • When human health affects environmental health.

You can download a free PDF here.

Oregon Sea Grant's semiannual newsletter

under: citizen science, climate, coastal hazards, Columbia River, Confluence, courses, classes and workshops, earthquake, ecology, engineering, environment, HMSC Visitor Center, k-12 teachers, kids, marine animals, marine education, marine mammals, ocean literacy, Oregon Sea Grant, outreach and engagement, people, public communication, publications, science education, Sea Grant Scholars, social science, STEM education, tsunami, whales
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Oregon Sea Grant publication wins Silver Award of Distinction

Posted by: | April 28, 2016 Comments Off on Oregon Sea Grant publication wins Silver Award of Distinction |

Oregon Sea Grant has won a Silver Award of Distinction in the 2016 Communicator Awards competition, for its field guide Key Aquatic Invasive Species Watch: Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris in the Eastern Pacific.CommSilver1

According to the Communicator Awards’ website, the competition is sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, “an invitation-only group consisting of top-tier professionals from acclaimed media, communications, advertising, creative and marketing firms.” The competition, which receives “over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes,” honors work that “transcends innovation and craft – work that made a lasting impact.”

The Award of Distinction is presented for “projects that exceed industry standards in quality and achievement.”

You can download a free PDF or order printed copies of Key Aquatic Invasive Species Watch here.

under: awards, brochures, environment, invasive species, marine debris, news, Oregon Sea Grant, publications, tsunami
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Five years after Japanese tsunami, concern over invasives still exists

Posted by: | March 11, 2016 Comments Off on Five years after Japanese tsunami, concern over invasives still exists |
Sam Chan tells visitors to the washed-up Japanese dock about invasive species that may have hitched a ride

Oregon State University Natural Resources Leadership Academy (NRLA) Agate Beach, tsunami debris field trip, June 21, 2012.

Five years after a massive earthquake struck Japan and triggered a tsunami that is still washing debris onto the West Coast of the United States, scientists are unsure whether any of the 200-plus non-native species that hitchhiked over on that debris have gained a foothold in Northwest waters.

Four separate findings of barred knifejaws (Oplegnathus fasciatus) – a fish native to Japan – have been reported over the past three years, and Mediterranean blue mussels have been ubiquitous on tsunami debris. Yet no populations of non-native species that arrived with the tsunami debris are known to have established reproductive populations.

“Maybe we dodged the bullet, although it is still too early to tell,” said John Chapman, an Oregon State University invasive species expert who has investigated tsunami debris along the Pacific coastline. “It is possible that we have not yet discovered these reproductive populations, or that some species from Japan may be cross-breeding with our own species.”

Scientists have not had adequate resources to look extensively up and down the Pacific coast for evidence of establishment by non-native species – especially along long stretches of rugged shoreline.

The magnitude-9 earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011, was the largest in that country’s history and generated a tsunami that had waves estimated as high as 133 feet. The power of these two events, combined with the growth of human settlement over the past two to three centuries, created a new paradigm, said Samuel Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s expert in aquatic ecosystem health and invasive species.

“A tsunami 300 years ago, or even just 60 years ago, would not have created as much marine debris that became a vehicle for moving species across the Pacific Ocean that could become invasive,” Chan said. “What makes these major tsunami-driven events different in modern times is the substantial human industrial infrastructure that we have built along the Pacific coast.”

Learn more:

under: invasive species, tsunami

OPB’s “Unprepared:” Are we ready for the Big One?

Posted by: | September 18, 2015 Comments Off on OPB’s “Unprepared:” Are we ready for the Big One? |

“Unprepared,” a special edition of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Oregon Field Guide series airing Oct 1, examines whether Oregonians are ready for the magnitude 8 or stronger earthquake scientists are predicting for the offshore Cascadia Subduction Zone within the next .

The program looks at what it takes to get ready for a disaster of that scope – and the potential consequences if we don’t.

Oregon Sea Grant’s coastal hazards specialist, Patrick Corcoran, is among the experts who contributed to the program. Corcoran is accustomed to talking people through preparedness, from how families can create a “Quake Kit” of supplies that can be grabbed at the first sign of earthquake to how entire coastal communities can – and should – relocate critical facilities such as hospitals and schools from the likely path of the devastating tsunami that likely would accompany such a quake.

“Unprepared” is part of a year-long initiative by OPB and Oregon Field Guide to inform people about the dangers of a megaquake, and to examine ways that our region can be better prepared for such a disaster. Visit the OPB Website for more information.

Learn more:

under: coastal hazards, earthquake, tsunami

Cascadia earthquake: Finding the sweet spot between fear and action

Posted by: | July 23, 2015 Comments Off on Cascadia earthquake: Finding the sweet spot between fear and action |

A recent national news article suggesting that everything in Oregon west of Interstate-5 “would be toast” in a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake certainly drew attention to the seismic reality facing the Pacific Northwest.

The concern, though, is that people are focusing on the most draconian or extreme scenarios, experts say, which can lead to a sense of fatalism. The reaction illustrates the state of earthquake and tsunami preparedness – or lack thereof – in the United States, said Patrick Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant’s Astoria-based coastal hazards specialist, who works with coastal communities on disaster preparedness.

It’s a matter of feast or famine.

“The Cascadia Subduction Zone has shifted from a science project to a social studies project,” Corcoran said. “We need to find a sweet spot between fear and action. What I try to do is temper the tendency of people to toggle between the poles of ‘it won’t happen here’ and ‘it will be so bad that there’s no use worrying about it.’”

(Read the entire story from OSU News & Research Communication to learn how Corcoran and other OSU faculty are working with the state and coastal communities to prepare people, communities and infrastructure for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami).

Learn more

Earthquake and tsunami preparedness material from Oregon Sea Grant:

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, earthquake, Extension, outreach and engagement, tsunami

Japanese fish found off Oregon; 2011 tsunami link possible

Posted by: | February 25, 2015 Comments Off on Japanese fish found off Oregon; 2011 tsunami link possible |
Striped Knifefish

The striped knifejaw caught off Port Orford in veterinary quarantine tank at HMSC

NEWPORT – Oregon scientists, including specialists from Oregon Sea Grant, are examining an unusual fish hauled out of the ocean near Port Orford in a crab pot last week for possible connections to the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

The fish, an Oplegnathus fasciatus (sometimes called a barred knifejaw or striped beakfish) is in quarantine at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, under the care of OSG aquatic veterinarian Tim Miller-Morgan.

While it’s hard to say whether the fish was transported across the Pacific by debris from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, its appearance in US waters raises questions, according to OSU’s John Chapman, an aquatic invasive species specialist based at the Hatfield Center.

Sea Grant invasive species expert Sam Chan estimates the fish to be around 1-2 years old, which makes it unlikely the animal left Japan in 2011. But, he added, “a boat could have been milling around Asian waters for the past 2-3 years and then picked up the fish and ridden the currents over. The big question is – are there more of these.” He said Sea Grant would work with Oregon commercial fisherman, crabbers and others to keep a lookout for more of the species.

Learn more:

under: HMSC Visitor Center, invasive species, tsunami

Sea Grant expert featured on National Geographic tsunami special

Posted by: | December 22, 2014 Comments Off on Sea Grant expert featured on National Geographic tsunami special |

Pat Corcoran visits Japan to see aftermath of tsunami, 2012Patrick Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant’s coastal hazards specialist, along with OSU researchers Chris Goldfinger and Tuba Ozkan-Haller are featured in “The Next Mega Tsunami,” a new TV special scheduled for its US premiere on the National Geographic Channel this coming Friday, Dec. 26.

The program is scheduled to air at 9 pm Pacific Time; check local listings for possible changes.

The special commemorates the 1oth anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean undersea megathrust earthquake which sent a devastating tsunami hurtling into Indonesia and the south Asian coastlines, killing an estimated 230,000 people in fourteen countries.

Seismic researchers – including OSU’s Goldfinger – say geologic conditions off the Oregon coast make it vulnerable to similar megathrust in the region known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The geologic and historic record shows that such “megathrust” quakes have occurred at regular intervals throughout the planet’s history, and scientists say the region is overdue for another.

Corcoran, who is based in Astoria, has worked for years with the state of Oregon and coastal communities to help develop local tsunami inundation maps, community and individual tsunami preparedness plans, and to help communities increase their resilience against such disasters by consider the relocation of hospitals, schools and other critical or vulnerable facilities to higher ground.

Ozkan-Haller, a professor of geology with OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, specializes in predicting how near-shore waves behave along coastlines, a field which has led her into tsunami-related research at OSU’s Hinsdale Wave Research Lab.

Learn more:

 

under: coastal hazards, earthquake, Extension, Oregon Sea Grant, tsunami

New app will help coastal Oregon prepare for tsunami

Posted by: | November 17, 2014 Comments Off on New app will help coastal Oregon prepare for tsunami |
Hatfield Marine Science Center employees practice their tsunami evacuation route (photo courtesy of Maryann Bozza, HMSC)

Hatfield Marine Science Center employees practice their tsunami evacuation route (photo courtesy of Maryann Bozza, HMSC)

Tsunami preparedness will soon be coming to a smartphone near you. A team of researchers at Oregon State University is developing an app for coastal residents to plan – and test – evacuation routes to use during an earthquake and tsunami.

Participants will use the app to conduct actual evacuation drills and compare their response time to the speed of an incoming wave.

“People will be able to download the app, plug in their start points and end points, and be able to track that like a GPS,” explained Lori Cramer, a sociologist and principal investigator on the project, which is funded by Oregon Sea Grant. “They will be able to do it themselves to see how quickly they can get to wherever they are going and try alternate routes.”

Social media was underutilized during the Fukushima disaster in Japan, but Cramer hopes that with proper planning this app will help save lives when a disaster does hit Oregon. Studies of seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest have estimated that the Oregon coast has a more than one-in-three chance of experiencing a major, arthquake, capable of generating a dangerous tsunami, within the next 50 years.

Along with the app, the team plans workshops on the coast to discuss evacuation routes and preparedness. After residents practice an evacuation using the app, they will complete an anonymous survey to help the researchers compare trends and disaster preparedness between coastal cities.

“The app can be used to relay evacuation route and time data to a central archive,” explained Haizhong Wang, a civil engineer and collaborator on the project. “These data are used by city managers and the research team to guide future development of evacuation simulation models with thousands of people.”

To use the app, participants create a profile including age, gender and zip code—to distinguish residents from tourists—and head out for high ground. Hitting the “start” button signals an earthquake, and all of their decisions afterwards are of interest to the researchers.

“One thing that we are interested in is ‘milling time,’ or how long it takes a person to decide to evacuate after feeling the earthquake,” Cramer said.

Throughout the dry run, participants will actually be able to monitor how close the imaginary wave is to their current location.

“We have pre-computed tsunami inundation for several areas, and we are working on Newport now,” said Dan Cox, an engineer and professor with OSU’s School of Civil and Construction Engineering who is creating the wave models for the project. “You can use this pre-computed inundation to get an idea of where the water will be at any given time.”

While the app is being developed, the team continues to conduct evacuation drills with various “at-risk” groups—including the elderly, disabled and the poor— along the coast. Cramer says that these trainings can provide hope to people who might not evacuate otherwise.

“There was one elderly lady who hadn’t planned on leaving,” Cramer said. “But she did the drill and she found out that she could make it to the evacuation point in the time period, and that changed her whole outlook on life.”

Once the app is released, the research team plans to create an interactive display at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for visitors to learn about the technology and provide feedback. Ultimately, the researchers hope to use social media and education to help make coastal communities more resilient and better prepared for future disasters.

Learn more

… about Oregon Sea Grant’s work on tsunami preparedness on the Oregon coast

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, earthquake, mobile applications, technology, tsunami

Dark Horse releases new comic about earthquake preparedness

Posted by: | August 26, 2014 Comments Off on Dark Horse releases new comic about earthquake preparedness |

Without Warning comic coverDark Horse Comics, the Oregon-based publisher of such iconic titles as Star Wars, Sin City and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, has teamed with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and the Cascadia Region Earthquake  Group to produce a new, free comic about earthquake preparedness.

Without Warning tells the story of a girl who lives on the Oregon Coast and is trying to reunite with her family after a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. The digital version of the 16-page, full-color comic, written for audiences age 12 and up, can be downloaded free from Dark Horse; free printed copies are available from the Office of Emergency Management.

Oregon is located in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600 hundred mile earthquake fault stretching from offshore Northern California to Southern British Columbia. Experts predict a large 9.0 or higher earthquake could strike Oregon at any time. Oregon Sea Grant, through its coastal natural hazards program, works to help coastal towns and residents prepare for the Big One.

Learn more:

under: earthquake, tsunami

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