Ask An Expert: How Were the Tsunami Hazard Zones and Safe Areas Determined?

We have the tsunami hazard zone maps
that are out. There you’ll see the yellow areas or where the tsunami hazard is
located and the white areas where it’s safe. You can get those brochures and check them out. And you really need to know about where you work, where do you live, where do you play. Anywhere you go, you want to know where the tsunami hazards are located.
So, how did we develop those maps? Well essentially, the California Geological
Survey went through and did modeling and came up with a area that would be
inundated by the largest type of earthquake that could impact our region.
Most areas, that’s Cascadia. And that line is a kind of wiggly line along the coast.
It’s very random seemingly to people, so when they were designing the maps,
they wanted to be conservative. They wanted to make sure, well if this line is
just short of this road let’s just stretch it to the road to make it clear
that anything inside this road toward the coast is a threat but anything
beyond this road is in the safe zone. So that’s why when you look at those maps
you’re often seeing the roads that the line actually follow roads. It’s to make
it clear, it makes it easier to understand where that line, where the
zone is, and where it isn’t. When it follows a road, rather than a random
wiggly line based off of the exact modeling, it also makes evacuation
simpler. All of that is put into those tsunami hazard zone areas when
they were designing them originally.

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