Tsunami Inundation Mapping for Alaska Communities


Alaska has the greatest earthquake and tsunami potential in the entire United States. The communities of the south-coastal Alaska occupy one of the most seismically active regions of the world, where the Pacific Plate is subducting under the North American Plate. This subduction zone, the Alaska-Aleutian megathrust zone, creates high tsunami hazards for the adjacent coastal areas. Historic tsunamis that were generated by earthquakes in the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone have resulted in widespread damage and loss of life along the Alaska Pacific coast and other exposed locations around the Pacific Ocean. Large seismic events occurring in the vicinity of the Alaska Peninsula, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska have a very high potential for generating both local and Pacific-wide tsunamis.

To help mitigate the risk these earthquakes and tsunamis pose to Alaskan coastal communities, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys participate in the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program by evaluating and mapping potential inundation of selected parts of Alaska coastlines using numerical modeling of tsunami wave dynamics. The communities for inundation modeling are selected in coordination with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management with consideration to location, infrastructure, availability of bathymetric and topographic data, and willingness for a community to incorporate the results in a comprehensive mitigation plan.

Completed tsunami inundation mapping projects:

Chenega Bay
Cordova
Homer
Kodiak area (Kodiak City, USCG base, Womens Bay)
Sawmill Bay
Seldovia
Seward
Sitka
Tatitlek
Valdez
Whittier

Tsunami inundation mapping is in progress for the following communities:

Akutan
Cold Bay
Chignik
Elfin Cove
Gustavus
Hoonah
Juneau
King Cove
Nikolski
Sand Point
Unalaska/Dutch Harbor
Yakutat

Tsunami inundation map of Valdez, Alaska.


Tsunami inundation map of Sitka, Alaska.



Page created by E.Suleimani.
Updated: December 2014