Wednesday, January 31, 2024

PBS Terra asks 'What's the ONE THING You Can Do To Survive a Tsunami?'

Weathered on PBS Terra returns to the topic of PBS examines the risks from a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest and PBS Terra explains 'Here's EXACTLY What to Do When the Next Megaquake Hits: Cascadia Subduction Zone' with What's the ONE THING You Can Do To Survive a Tsunami? Cascadia Subduction Zone.

While tsunamis happen all over the world, really big ones are rare. But, they can be truly devastating. And what’s more, the West Coast of North America is overdue for a subduction zone earthquake and tsunami that has the potential to be the biggest disaster the U.S. has ever seen. So, what is the single most important factor determining whether or not YOU survive a tsunami? Watch this episode to find out.
I begin my reaction by recycling the conversation Infidel753 and I and in the comments to PBS Terra explains 'Here's EXACTLY What to Do When the Next Megaquake Hits: Cascadia Subduction Zone'.
Infidel753: Living in Portland, I worry about this a lot. I may actually move, if I can ever afford to. At least the apartment complex I live in is one of those "stick buildings", so it probably wouldn't collapse, but the disruption to water, sewage, transport, and everything else is likely to be horrific, and not quickly fixed.

Me: I can relate. Although they're down the list, earthquakes are one of the things I don't miss about California now that I live in Michigan. As I wrote last year: "the prospect of this quake has dissuaded my wife and me from moving to the Pacific Northwest when I retire." It might make you move out when you retire.
My wife and I just talked about this last week and it reinforced our decision not to move to Seattle or Portland, as lovely as those cities seem in Grey's Anatomy or Grimm — and that's even with the fairy tale monsters in the latter!

As for the answer to the question in the title, it's reaction time and my first instinct if I can't get away from the shore would be to climb up, so I'm relieved to see people building vertical escape structures. Now to build more than three in the U.S.

This concludes January's blogging. Stay tuned for February. Leap year month!


  1. This is an important reminder of a major danger. However, I question the emphasis on the tsunami as opposed to the earthquake itself. The coasts of Oregon and Washington are lightly populated. The major cities like Portland and Seattle are a hundred miles inland -- even if the tsunami traveled up the river estuaries as the video says, only the parts of the cities near the riverbank would be affected by that. I would expect structural collapses in those cities from the ground shaking itself to kill a lot more people than the tsunami wiping out the coastal towns.

    1. On the one hand, the Future Threats section of the Wikipedia article on the 1700 Cascadia Earthquake supports you: "[T]he major nearby cities, notably Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, Victoria, and Tacoma, which are located on inland waterways rather than on the coast, would be sheltered from the full brunt of a tsunami. These cities do have many vulnerable structures, especially bridges and unreinforced brick buildings; consequently, most of the damage to the cities would probably be from the earthquake itself." So you're right there.

      On the other hand, the coasts of Oregon and Washington may be lightly populated compared to the Willamette Valley and Puget Sound, but the Oregon coast still contains about 100,000 people. According to the Census, Curry County has three cities on the coast, Brookings with 6,744 people, Gold Beach 2,241, and Port Orford 1,133. Coos County has Coos Bay with 15,985, North Bend 9,695, Bandon with 3,321, and Lakeside 1,699. Most of Douglas County and Land County lie inland, but the former includes Reedsport with 4,310, Winchester Bay with 382, and Gardiner with 248, and the latter includes Florence with 9,553, Heceta Beach with 1,912, and Dunes City with 1,303, all of which are on the coast. Lincoln County stretches along the coast with Newport at 10,853, Lincoln City with 9,815, Lincoln Beach with 2,045, Waldport with 2,033, Depoe Bay with 1,398, and Yachats with 994. I've been to Tillamook County twice, which includes Tillamook at 5,231, Rockaway Beach at 1,312, Pacific City with 1,109, Garibaldi with 830, Netarts with 744, Manzanita with 603, Oceanside with 361, and Nehalem with 355. Finally, Clatsop County includes Astoria with 10,181 (on the Columbia, but still likely to get hit by a tsunami; the same would be true of Knappa with 1,007 and Svensen with 853), Seaside with 6,457, Warrenton with 6,277, Gearhart with 1,793, Cannon Beach 1,489, and Jeffers Garden with 368. Those add up.

      Besides, the tsunami will be felt a long way away. Scientists got the date of the 1700 earthquake from records in Japan. Conversely, the tsunami caused by the 2011 quake near Fukushima caused millions of dollars of damage along the U.S. coast. Don't discount that!

    2. Thanks for linking to this entry at Link round-up for 4 February 2024 and welcome to all your readers who came here! Also, welcome to my international readers from Singapore (welcome back, I've missed you!), Hong Kong, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the planet! I appreciate all of you, especially my readers from Singapore, who have provided more than 2,000 page views this past week, nearly as many as my American readers!