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Archive for 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.

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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.

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… 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.

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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

Highest-risk town faces up to tsunami threat

Posted by: | November 5, 2013 Comments Off on Highest-risk town faces up to tsunami threat |

Modeling tsunami wavesSEASIDE – Scientists agree that the “big one” — an earthquake reaching  magnitude 9.0 or higher — has a 10 to 15 percent chance of striking somewhere off the U.S. west coast in the Cascadia Subduction Zone within the next 50 years. Fifteen to 20 minutes later, a tsunami will move in and drown many coastal communities.

Geologists consider the town of Seaside – much of which sits at sea level –  “the highest-risk community on the Oregon coast,” said Yumei Wang, a geotechnical engineer at the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

Little wonder that earthquake and tsunami preparedness is one of the Seaside School District’s main selling points for bond measure 4-168, which would fund a new $128.8 million K-12 campus to be built in the wooded hills east of Seaside Heights Elementary School. In the event of a natural catastrophe, the building housing the schools would double as an emergency shelter for the community.

These two concerns — a new learning environment for schools above the 80-foot tsunami inundation zone and the need for a refuge from a Japanese-style disaster — are the basis for SAFE (Support a Future for Education), a political action committee formed to generate support for the bond.

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under: coastal hazards, earthquake, engineering, tsunami

Groups sought to monitor marine debris on Oregon coast

Posted by: | October 31, 2013 Comments Off on Groups sought to monitor marine debris on Oregon coast |

The Oregon Marine Debris Team is seeking volunteer groups to participate in a community grants program which will support monitoring for marine debris. Up to 10 local groups (either existing organizations or teams that unite for this effort) will be awarded $500 to assist them in regularly monitoring and submitting reports on marine debris that washes up at selected sites on the Oregon coast.

The project is part of an ongoing research program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Participating groups, using NOAA protocols, will be expected to gather data at regular monthly intervals on the types and amounts of marine debris reaching the shore at 10 small monitoring sites from the mouth of the Columbia River south to near the California border.  Once they’ve collected the information, volunteers will be expected to upload it to a website for NOAA analysis.

The team hopes to have one monitoring site within each of 10 regions, spanning the length of the coast; preference will be given to proposals for more remote areas with less human traffic and where it is less likely that litter will be picked up between monitoring sessions.

For information about how to submit a proposal, visit the OMDT blog.

No prior experience is necessary. Training and support will be provided by the OMDT, a partnership among four non-profit organizations—Surfrider, SOLVE, Washed Ashore and the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition—with the cooperation of Oregon Sea Grant.

 

 

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, grants, marine debris, tsunami

Tsunami debris curriculum teaches about marine invaders

Posted by: | October 31, 2013 Comments Off on Tsunami debris curriculum teaches about marine invaders |

Workers clean live species from Japanese dock washed up on Agate Beach, 2012A new curriculum from Oregon Sea Grant uses lessons from the 2011 Japanese tsunami – and subsequent arrival of large docks and other artifacts of the disaster on US shores – to teach about science, engineering – and the risks posed by foreign species hitching a ride on floating debris.

Developed by Sea Grant’s Watershed and Invasive Species Education (WISE) program, the curriculum was tested at several workshops this year where teachers had a chance to experience activities focused on getting students and teachers excited about STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) learning. Along with teaching about marine invaders, the activities looked at the power of tsunami waves, and how engineering can make shorefront communities more resilient to such disasters.

The entire curriculum is available, free, from Oregon Sea Grant’s Website.

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under: invasive species, k-12 teachers, marine education, ocean literacy, tsunami

Two new curricula available from Oregon Sea Grant

Posted by: | August 8, 2013 Comments Off on Two new curricula available from Oregon Sea Grant |

Tsunami evacuation signOregon Sea Grant has recently published two new curricula. Both are available online.

Tsunami STEM Curriculum–uses Ocean Science Systems as pathways to stimulate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning to guide students in decision making. Students immerse into STEM through understanding the causes and consequences of a natural disaster such as a tsunami or bioinvasion, learn about their risks, and explore choices and consequences of responses to and preparation for tsunami hazards. http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/e-13-003

You’re Excluded! An Activity Exploring Technology Changes in the Trawl Industry–includes objectives, method, materials needed, information on trawl fishing, pictures of nets, procedures, activity options, and discussion questions. It also includes instructions on incorporating engineering designs standards for kindergarten through high school. http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/e-13-002-trawl-industry-curriculum

under: beach safety, climate, coastal hazards, courses, classes and workshops, fishermen, free-choice learning, k-12 teachers, marine education, publications, science education, tsunami

Live fish, crabs, survive post-tsunami trip aboard Japanese boat

Posted by: | April 8, 2013 Comments Off on Live fish, crabs, survive post-tsunami trip aboard Japanese boat |

Oplegnathus-fasciatus-WDFW-photox250Scientists at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center are examining a handful of Japanese fish that may have survived a nearly two-year trip aboard a small fishing boat torn off the Japanese coast by the 2011 tsunami.

The fish – Oplegnathus fasciatus, known as Barred knifejaw or Striped beakperch – were found in the bottom of a Japanese boat that washed ashore at Long Beach, WA on March 22. The vessel is one of a growing number of large items cast to sea by the Japanese tsunami that have made their way across the ocean to Pacific Northwest shores.

Sam Chan, Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species specialist, said the fish species normally are found only as far east as Hawaii. Scientists aren’t yet sure whether the fish traveled all the way from Japan, or if they somehow got onboard the derelict vessel as it crossed the ocean. “Either way, it’s an interesting case of organisms ‘rafting’ across the ocean,” Chan said.

OSU’s Jessica Miller, a marine fisheries ecologist with the HMSC-based Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, as four of the fish and is examining their stomach contents and otoliths (specialized bones found in the ears of fish and other species) for insight into what the fish had been eating and the environmental conditions they encountered during their transit. The fifth fish is on display at the Seaside Aquarium.

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under: invasive species, marine debris, marine science, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, tsunami

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