Past Disasters and Future Threats:
Tsunami Products from NGDC

(Tsunami Preparedness Week, March 23-29, 2014)

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    Learning from Past Disasters
    Understanding past tsunamis is key to preparing for future events. NGDC maintains databases on historic tsunami sources (e.g., earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides) and runups (locations where tsunami waves were observed). These data are available through an interactive map (link below) and allow researchers to better understand where tsunami events have occurred, how often and their severity.
    Natural Hazards Data viewer/interactive map:http://maps.ngdc.noaa.gov/viewers/hazards
    Tsunami Sources map (poster size): http://ngdc.noaa.gov/hazard/data/publications/tsunami_posteroct08.pdf

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    50 Years Ago: Alaska Earthquake and Tsunami (March 27, 1964)
    The magnitude 9.2 earthquake and ensuing tsunami caused 139 deaths and $439 million in property loss ($97 million and 106 deaths in Alaska). The tsunami, generated by tectonic motion and about 20 landslides, devastated many towns along the Gulf of Alaska and caused damage in British Columbia, Japan, Hawaii and along the U.S. West Coast (18 killed).
    Event images: http://ngdc.noaa.gov/hazardimages/event/show/2
    USGS video "1964 Quake: The Great Alaska Earthquake": http://youtu.be/lE2j10xyOgI

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    Issuing Warnings When a Tsunami is Coming
    The March 11, 2011, magnitude 9.0 earthquake near Honshu Island, Japan, illustrates NOAA's integrated tsunami response. The earthquake generated a tsunami with wave heights up to 40 meters. The NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued its first alert within minutes and tracked wave progress using NOAA's DART buoy system and tide gauges. Following the event, these data were archived at NGDC and are now used for future planning and preparation.
    U.S. NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center video: http://youtu.be/r3ZCOnDa2Uk
    "Tsunami," a 5-year anniversary movie via Science On a Sphere: http://www.sos.noaa.gov/Datasets/dataset.php?id=298#

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    What to Do in Case of Tsunami
    NOAA and its federal and state partners are responsible for reducing tsunami impact. To educate those in coastal regions, NGDC has developed a short list of the warning signs you feel, see and hear before a tsunami hits and what to do in the first few critical minutes. Familiarize yourself with this information so you can be TsunamiReady!
    Tsunami Preparedness Week info: http://nthmp.tsunami.gov/tpw/tsunami-preparedness-week.html
    NOAA NOS video, "Tsunami Awareness": http://oceantoday.noaa.gov/tsunamiawareness/otk_0227_tsunamiawareness_sm.mov

Tsunamis are infrequent but potentially devastating events capable of causing great destruction and loss of life in coastal communities. Understanding past tsunamis, effectively modeling impacts from future events and closely monitoring oceans after tsunami-generating events are key to protecting life and property. The National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) and its partners compile a unique set of tsunami-related products to support and prepare tsunami warning centers, tsunami modelers, engineers, oceanographers, seismologists, community leaders and the general public.