Tsunami’s Comin’

tsunami-wave-warning2Ever since the tsunami that hit Japan caused a gate over hell to open and nuclear-tainted sushi to roam free across the planet, Oregonians have been bracing themselves for the possibility of one hitting here. Good news, doomsday preppers: a team of engineers at OSU have just released what they’re calling “one of the most precise evaluations” yet on the effects of a tsunami hitting the Columbia River.

David Hill, an associate professor of civil engineering at OSU and one of the authors of the study, noted their surprise at discovering that the tides were much more important to the potential damage than the amount of water flowing in the river.

“The maximum reach of a tsunami on the Columbia will be based on the tidal level at the time, and of course the magnitude of the earthquake causing the event,” Hill commented in a press release.

The main bullet points are:
• Water level increase of about 11.5 to 13 feet just offshore.
• 25 miles downriver, near Welch Island, water would rise only about 1.6 feet.
• 50 miles in, near Longview, WA, water would have no measurable change.

This is all good news, and the best part is that it’s more reliable good news than we’ve ever had before on the subject, due to the extensive research by the team at OSU.

“There have been previous models of Columbia River run-up as a result of a tsunami, but they had less resolution than this work,” said Hill in the press release. “We carefully considered the complex hydrodynamics, subsidence of grounds that a tsunami might cause, and the impacts during different scenarios.”

The flood maps they created with this research can now help land owners and land use planners make preparations for such an event, which hopefully will not happen until after I’ve moved away.

By Sidney Reilly

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