West Coast, Alaska Could Be Due for Monster Tsunami

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2009 1:55 PM CDT
Beachgoers at a beach closed due to tsunami conditions.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Alaska and the US West Coast could be pounded by a tsunami far more powerful than researchers had previously thought, LiveScience reports. Analysis of soil samples shows evidence of two earthquakes in the past 2,000 years capable of producing waves that dwarf a 1964 tsunami one researcher calls “the most devastating seismic sea wave to impact the northwestern coast of the US in historical time.”

That wave killed 130 people. “Our radiocarbon-dated samples suggest that previous earthquakes were 15% bigger in terms of the area affected than the 1964 event,” the study’s lead author says. The new evidence “has significant implications for the tsunami potential of the Gulf of Alaska and the Pacific region as a whole.”