The SAFRR Tsunami Scenario

By: , and 
Edited by: Bruce I. Ostbo and Don Oates



The U.S. Geological Survey and several partners operate a program called Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) that produces (among other things) emergency planning scenarios for natural disasters. The scenarios show how science can be used to enhance community resiliency. The SAFRR Tsunami Scenario describes potential impacts of a hypothetical, but realistic, tsunami affecting California (as well as the west coast of the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii) for the purpose of informing planning and mitigation decisions by a variety of stakeholders. The scenario begins with an Mw 9.1 earthquake off the Alaska Peninsula. With Pacific basin-wide modeling, we estimate up to 5m waves and 10 m/sec currents would strike California 5 hours later. In marinas and harbors, 13,000 small boats are damaged or sunk (1 in 3) at a cost of $350 million, causing navigation and environmental problems. Damage in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach amount to $110 million, half of it water damage to vehicles and containerized cargo. Flooding of coastal communities affects 1800 city blocks, resulting in $640 million in damage. The tsunami damages 12 bridge abutments and 16 lane-miles of coastal roadway, costing $85 million to repair. Fire and business interruption losses will substantially add to direct losses. Flooding affects 170,000 residents and workers. A wide range of environmental impacts could occur. An extensive public education and outreach program is underway, as well as an evaluation of the overall effort.

Study Area

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title The SAFRR Tsunami Scenario
DOI 10.1061/9780784413067.155
Year Published 2013
Language English
Publisher American Society of Civil Engineers
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Ports 2013: Success Through Diversification
First page 1512
Last page 1521
Country United States
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details