A state/federal partnership is underway to lessen the impact of tsunamis in U.S. communities along the Pacific Ocean. Now in its second year, the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program is continuing to prepare tsunami inundation maps, construct deepocean tsunami detectors, upgrade seismic networks, and develop mitigation plans for each state along the Pacific coast. Goals include providing early warning of tsunamis and educating residents about evacuation.
Coastal communities in Alaska, northern California, southeastern Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington are particularly threatened by tsunamis generated by local earthquakes. For example, there is mounting geological and seismological evidence that a number of large, local earthquakes in the past 2000 years generated tsunamis resulting in sudden and extensive flooding along the coastlines of Washington, Oregon, and California [Clague, 1997]. The earthquake zones shown in Figure 1 subject all five Pacific states to local tsunami threat. These zones and other seismically active areas of the Pacific rim also expose these states to distant tsunami hazard.