TSUNAMI HAZARD MITIGATION FOR ALASKA

Coastal Alaska lives with the most serious tsunami risk in the United States. Historically, tsunamis generated by earthquakes in Alaska have caused damage and loss of life along the West Coast and across the Pacific. Here in Alaska, though, tsunamis generated by nearby earthquakes represent “near-field” hazards. In other words, people have minutes rather than hours to reach safety.

The Earthquake Center works to make our coastal communities safer by providing state and local officials with the best possible information for addressing the tsunami hazards faced by their communities.

Click on the map at right to explore our interactive mapping interface. Zoom to your area of interest by selecting a community and map type. You can also toggle between map and satellite views at the top right. At present, the interactive map includes flow depths and inundation boundaries for 21 at-risk communities.

INUNDATION MAPPING PROJECT

In partnership with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys and the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, we evaluate and map potential inundation using numerical modeling of tsunami wave dynamics.

Communities are selected with consideration to their tsunami hazard exposure, location, infrastructure, availability of data, and willingness to incorporate the results in a comprehensive mitigation plan. The maps incorporate the best tsunami science available at the time of publication.

PUBLISHED REPORTSMAPPING UNDERWAY

IN PUBLICATION

  • Adak and Atka

IN REVIEW

  • Kodiak Region

IN PREPARATION

  • Anchor Point, Port Graham and Nanwalek
  • False Pass and Perryville
  • Haines
  • Homer
  • Port Alexander, Craig and Ketchikan
  • Seldovia
  • Shemya
  • Skagway

 

Click to enter interactive tsunami inundation mapping interface

Pedestrian Travel Time Maps

With community input about likely evacuation scenarios, we use factors like variations in slope and ground cover to model pedestrian travel times and find the safest available routes. The following maps will be published soon:

  • Chignik
  • Homer
  • King Cove
  • Unalaska

Tsunami News

Recently, many national news outlets picked up a story about the earthquake and tsunami threat posed by Alaska’s Shumagin Gap. The headlines were frightening. Representative examples include “Alaska at risk of a massive earthquake and tsunami similar to devastating 2011 Japan event” (Newsweek) and “Fault linked to big tsunamis found off Alaska” (The Weather Channel).