Tsunami Hazard Mapping
Tsunamis, also known as tidal waves, are rapidly moving waves or temporary rises in sea level caused by the sudden displacement of a large body of water. Most commonly caused by underwater landslides as result of an earthquake, tsunamis can also be caused by underwater or near-water volcanic eruptions, explosions, or landslides either into or below the water surface. Tsunamis can cause death, injury, or property damage as the resultant wave run-up inundates or floods coastal areas.
Mapping of coastal areas subject to tsunami hazard helps prevent losses, plan evacuation routes, and prepare for emergencies. In addition, a network of tsunami monitoring buoys can help detect an oncoming tsunami, and multiple regional tsunami warning centers can issue alerts.
In the United States, coastal areas of the the Pacific Rim - Alaska, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington are more likely to be subjected to tsunamis although a tsunami could potentially occur in any low-lying coastal area. Local areas may have tsunami evacuation maps in the local phonebook. NOAA/NWS issues tsunami warnings and allerts and provides funding and assistance with multiple tsunami warning centers. FEMA, and other federal, state, or local agencies may be involved as well. Some resources are listed at left.
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Tsunami hitting the coast, Hawaii, 1957.
Photo H.Helbush, Courtesy NOAA
NWS/ Tsunami warning Center- Map of recent events and links to other warning centers.
NWS/NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center - Map of tsunami warnings and events and more.
NOAA center for Tsunami Research - Hazard assesments for coastal States of the Western US.
NOAA Inundation Maps - Information about tsunami inundation maps and links to appropriate state agencies.
NOAA Tsunami Hazard Assessment - Information of tsunami modeling and research and producing and interpreting tsunami indundation hazard and evacuation maps.
NOAA Natural Hazards Viewer - An interactive hazard map viewer. Includes basemap, worldwide earthquake, tsunami, and volcano, observing stations, DART buoys, tsunami tide guages, bathymetry, and population layers.
USGS Tsunami Hazards - General information and a map of earthquake generated tsunami events in the United States.
USGS Natural Hazards Support System - Interactive map viewer with layers for recent earthquake, volcanic activity, tsunami activity, and much more.
FEMA Tsunami Hazard - Tsunami hazard related information and links.
For state-specific information, contact your State Geologist and your State Office of Emergency Management. At a local level, contact your city or county emergency management, planning, zoning, environmental and/or health office/department.
ITIC - International Tsunami Information Center. Worldwide tsunami related warnings and information.
PDC Natural Hazards & Vulnerabilites Atlas: Asia Pacific-Pacific Disaster Center Hazards Atlas: Asia Pacific Edition (Includes Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, etc.) An interactive hazard map viewer for the world. PDC home.
American Red Cross - Natural disaster preparedness and relief.