Agency releases new inundation maps for Curry

By The Curry Coastal Pilot November 27, 2012 11:53 pm

Curry County residents can now check to see whether they live, work or play in a potential tsunami inundation area thanks to new maps released this month by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

This week, the agency completed tsunami inundation maps for all of Curry County, concluding a mapping project for the entire Oregon Coast.

The maps show modeled inundation scenarious for local-source tsunamis, caused by an earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and distant-source  tsunamis generated by quakes in places such as Alaska and Japan.

According to a press release by the agency, “These maps incorporate all the best tsunami science available today, including recent publications by colleagues studying the Cascadia Subduction Zone, updated computer simulation models using high-resolution lidar topographic data, and knowledge gained from the 2004 Sumatra, 2010 Chile, and 2011 Tohoku earthquakes and tsunamis.”

The maps provide a wealth of information, including estimated tsunami wave height time series charts and a measurement of the exposure each community has to the various tsunami scenarios.

“We hope that the public, planners, emergency managers and first responders, elected officials, and other local decision makers will use these detailed and innovative TIM map products to mitigate risk and to reduce the loss of life and property,” the agency said in a statement released this week.

Tsunami Inundation Map (TIM) series coverage for Curry County includes 15 detailed maps from the Winchuck River to Langlois.

Anybody can view the maps online by visiting http://www.OregonTsunami.org

Each publication includes two plates.

•Plate 1 displays five scenarios, labeled as “T-shirt sizes” (S, M, L, XL, and XXL), of the impact of Cascadia Subduction Zone tsunamis that reflect the full range of what was experienced in the past and will be encountered in the future.  

The geologic record shows that the amount of time that has passed since the last great Cascadia earthquake (312 years since January 26, 1700) is not a reliable indicator of the size of the next one, so the size ranges are intended to fully bracket what might happen next.

•Plate 2 shows tsunami inundation scenarios for two distant-source tsunamis that were modeled and originate in Alaska. These distant tsunamis are not nearly as dangerous as the local ones, as Oregonians will have several hours instead of only minutes to evacuate and the tsunamis themselves are much smaller. 

For these reasons the agency’s focus is on the big Cascadia events. If the ground shakes for an extended period of time, official urge residents not to wait for a warning and evacuate to high ground as fast as possible.

To learn more about these publications, visit http://www.oregongeology.org/pubs/tim/p-TIM-overview.htm

The maps can be purchased on CD-ROM for $10 by calling (971) 673-2331 or order online at http://www.NatureNW.org. There is a $4.95 shipping and handling charge for all mailed items.

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The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries is an independent agency of the State and has a broad responsibility in developing an understanding of the state’s geologic resources and natural hazards. The Department then makes this information available to communities and individuals to help inform and reduce the risks from natural hazards, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, floods and volcanic eruptions. 

The Department assists in the formulation of state policy where an understanding of geologic materials, geologic resources, processes, and hazards is key to decision-making. The Department is also the lead state regulatory agency for mining, oil, gas and geothermal exploration, production and reclamation.