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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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DeFazio holds earthquake early warning roundtable in Eugene Sept. 22

Posted by: | September 21, 2015 Comments Off on DeFazio holds earthquake early warning roundtable in Eugene Sept. 22 |

EUGENE – Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) will host a roundtable policy discussion, “Earthquake Early Warning in the Pacific Northwest: Preparing for the Big One,” on Tuesday Sept. 22 at 10:30 am in the HEDCO Education Building, Room 230T at the University of Oregon, 1655 Alder Street, Eugene.

Among the invited participants is Oregon Sea Grant’s Pat Corcoran, a specialist in coastal earthquake and tsunami preparedness.

The event brings together local, state and federal officials and scientists to discuss earthquake resilience programs and efforts, the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system and the next steps for developing an offshore earthquake early warning system.

DeFAzio is the ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

The event will be livestreamed at:http://media.uoregon.edu/channel/livestream for those who cannot attend.

under: coastal hazards, earthquake, marine policy, news

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

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

Tsunami Preparedness Week – Are You Prepared?

Posted by: | March 24, 2014 Comments Off on Tsunami Preparedness Week – Are You Prepared? |

Pat Corcoran visits Japan to see aftermath of tsunami, 2012It’s Tsunami Preparedness Week, and Pat Corcoran wants to make sure people who live on -and visit – the seismically active coast know what to do when the big wave hits.

Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant’s coastal hazards specialist, is featured this week on the NOAA Sea Grant home page, and says the single most important thing to know about tsunamis is that they can happen unexpectedly. “Whenever visiting the ocean shore, be prepared to move to high ground if you experience an earthquake,” says Corcoran. “Also important to know, is the earthquake and tsunami experience is different depending on where you are in the world. In the Pacific Northwest of the USA, our natural warning for a big tsunami is a big earthquake.” Elsewhere in the world, people may not even feel the ground shake.

Corcoran has spent more than a decade educating and working with coastal residents and communities to help them prepare for coastal hazards, from storms to the inevitability that a large earthquake – likely with an accompanying tsunami – will strike the region in the not-too-distant future. The challenge, he says, is getting people to understand that they need to prepare now for an event that has never happened in their lifetimes, or perhaps those of their parents or grandparents.

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under: coastal hazards, earthquake, National Sea Grant Program, NOAA, tsunami

Despite speculation, scientists see no Fukushima radiation risk in albacore

Posted by: | January 16, 2014 Comments Off on Despite speculation, scientists see no Fukushima radiation risk in albacore |

Japan’s nuclear disaster released hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water in 2011, sparking rampant speculation that a contaminated plume would reach the waters of North America’s West Coast.

Three years later, such speculation is alive and well on the Internet. But scientists in Oregon and California have collected samples of tuna, a fish known to migrate back and forth across the Pacific, analyzed them for radioactive isotopes, Cesium-134 in particular, from Fukushima – and found levels so low they are barely detectable.

Delvan Neville labels albacore samplesDelvan Neville, a PhD candidate in Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University, has tested dozens of samples of albacore tuna for radioactivity. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s intervention levels for cesium 134 and cesium 137 is 1200 becquerels per kilogram. The highest levels he’s seen in his albacore, of both cesium 134 and cesium 137 combined, is 1 becquerel per kilogram – a level so low that his device couldn’t pick it up until he concentrated the samples.

“That’s more than 1,000 times lower than the point where the FDA would even think about whether they need to let people eat that food still,” he said.

Neville, along with OSU fisheries graduate Jason Phillips, is working with Dr. Lorenzo Cianelli, a marine biologist with OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences , to learn more about the migration patterns of Pacific albacore. Their initial work was funded in part by Oregon Sea Grant and NOAA.

It was only the timing of their research – coinciding with the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster – that led the scientists to consider radiation as a possible marker for learning which waters fish caught off the US Pacific coast might have traveled.

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under: coastal hazards, earthquake, environment, fisheries, marine science, research, seafood, seafood safety, tsunami

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