A tsunami spawned by a huge Alaskan earthquake could hit the California coast at any time and cause at least $10 billion in damage across the state, forcing at least 750,000 people to evacuate flooded areas, destroy port facilities in the Bay Area and Los Angeles [which are the #7 and #1 ports in terms of the value of import & exported goods], and send water surging up creeks, harbors and canals everywhere.
The scenario described by experts at the U.S. Geological Survey and scores of state and national specialists proposes a “hypothetical but plausible” event caused by a magnitude 9.1 quake. An Alaskan quake of that strength would cause waves up to 24 feet high that would batter California’s low-lying coastal areas with only a few hours of warning, the scientists said.
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation, 2015, Springer
5 Sep 2013. David Perlman. How Alaskan quake could lead to California tsunami. San Francisco Chronicle.
Several historical distant-source tsunamis, including those generated by the 1946 magnitude (M) 8.1 Aleutian, 1960 M9.5 Chile, and 1964 M9.2 Alaska earthquakes, caused known inundation along portions of the northern and central California coast
In addition to inundation, the scenario tsunami would generate strong, unpredictable currents in the ocean close to shore, causing significant damage in harbors and bays. An extrapolation of the damage in California from the 2011 Tohoku tsunami predicts that the SAFRR scenario tsunami, which produces larger waves and currents in California than did the 2011 event, will damage or sink one-third of the boats and damage or destroy over one-half of the docks in California coastal marinas. Small craft damages would include commercial fishing boats. In northern California, the scenario timing in March is considered the off-season and many fishermen would be away from their boats, which aggravates the exposure of the fleets to the tsunami. Loose boats would become floating debris or sink, posing navigational hazards to other vessels.
Fires would likely start at many sites where fuel and petrochemicals are stor ed in ports and marinas. Many fires during past tsunamis have been caused when flammable liquids were released, spread by water, and ignited by mechanisms such as electrical leakage, short circuits, and sparks created by pieces of debris colliding.
The tsunami has the potential to cause environmental contamination in both inunda ted areas onshore and the coastal marine and estuarine environments. Potential sources for contamination are many and varied, and include, for example:
debris from damaged piers, ships, commercial and industrial facilities, and large numbers of residences; petroleum products released from damaged ships and inundated or damaged marine petroleum terminals, petroleum storage facilities, marinas, power plants, and airports; raw sewage from inundated wastewater treatment plants; household and commercial building contents (lubricants, fuels, paints, pesticides, fertilizers, electronics); smoke, ash, and debris from fires; runoff from inundated agricultural fields containing pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers; and redistribution of existing contaminated sedime nts in ports, the near shore marine environment, and in estuaries, sloughs, and bays.
Property damage s include about 69,000 single-family-equivalent homes
U.S . Department of the Interior U.S . Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013. 1170– A California Geological Survey Special Report 229 The SAFRR (Science Application for Risk Reduction) Tsunami Scenario.