OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

“Reaching Higher Ground”: Tsunami preparedness videos online

06/12/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – What would it look like if a 35-foot tsunami smacked Seaside? And how can research and public education help the city and its residents prepare?

These questions are addressed in two new short videos produced by the Oregon Sea Grant program at Oregon State University. The videos are available online at http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/video/

Sea Grant is funding a research project at OSU’s Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, where scientists repeatedly send miniature tsunamis crashing into a scale model of Seaside. The project is led by Dan Cox, director of the Hinsdale lab and professor in OSU’s College of Engineering.

But equally important to Sea Grant is engaging the Seaside community with tsunami preparedness information. While Cox hosted wave lab visits with city officials and emergency response teams, education efforts for Seaside’s citizens were led by Sea Grant’s coastal hazards Extension specialist, Patrick Corcoran.

The work of Cox and Corcoran is highlighted in the videos. The feature video, “Reaching Higher Ground,” describes Seaside’s vulnerability in context of similar earthquake and tsunami events such as those in 1964 in Alaska, and in 2004 in Sumatra.

All three of these regions are located in geologic subduction zones, making them especially vulnerable to tsunami wave damage. An earthquake in the Cascadia subduction zone, west of the Oregon coast, is capable of sending that 35-foot wall of water rushing toward Seaside and other cities along the coast.

“Reaching Higher Ground” runs 14 minutes and features interviews with scientists, engineers, tsunami preparedness educators, and coastal residents.  In a second, shorter video, “The 3 Things You Need to Know,” Extension specialist Corcoran offers succinct preparedness steps to take as well as strategies for surviving tsunamis.

Oregon Sea Grant, founded in 1968 and based at OSU, supports research, education, and public outreach to help people understand, responsibly use, and conserve ocean and coastal resources.