New Report Shows New Tsunami Threats to Juneau

    Juneau, AK (KINY) - A recently released report on potential tsunami hazards for Juneau examines hypothetical worst case scenarios.

    Earthquakes are fairly common in this part of the world and with that comes the threat of tsunamis. This new study by the Alaska Earthquake Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the State Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, shows the maximum predicted wave height associated with two scenarios: 1) offshore tectonic tsunamis triggered by ocean-floor displacement; and 2) inshore local tsunamis caused by underwater, or submarine, landslides.

    Once again this is a predictive study that will help Juneau citizens and officials to prepare for a worst-case scenario.

    “We’ve always understood the threats from offshore tsunamis, but this report includes worst case threats from an inshore submarine tsunami, which is something we’ve never experienced or studied before. The report is scientifically accurate and feasible, though the probability of smaller wave events is higher. But these are worst case scenarios and they help us understand evacuation areas and response,” said City and Borough of Juneau Emergency Programs Manager Tom Mattice.

    The report’s map combines maximum predicted wave heights of both scenarios. For clarity, CBJ provides two maps – one map showing maximum predicted wave height for offshore tectonic tsunamis and another map showing maximum predicted wave height for local inshore tsunamis.

    Offshore tsunamis come from across the ocean, offering opportunities to activate the Tsunami Warning System and the Emergency Alert System, whereas an inshore, landslide-generated tsunami is a short duration event that doesn’t provide any time for warning, Mattice explained.

    Things citizens can do to protect themselves include packing a small emergency kit, plan out evacuation routes with the family, and seek higher grounds after earthquakes that last for more than 20 seconds or if the quake is strong enough to knock you down.

    "If nothing transpires in the next 30 minutes, you can assume it is a non-tsunami event,” Mattice said.

    Further information about Tsunamis can be found on the City and Borough website.

    When emergencies like a tsunami occur, it is recommended to seek higher ground and cooperate with emergency officials. There are plans in place to notify of important information to local media outlets, who will then spread important information.

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