Our country has not been a stranger to these types of devastating events, with tsunamis starting from the Aleutian island chain normally reaching the coastline. But according to two teams of geologists, much more massive tsunamis from Alaska might threaten California and Hawaii because they are in the direct line of fire.
Tsunamis are usually produced by underwater earthquakes caused by tectonic plates that collide with each other or by massive underwater landslides. In the case of waves starting from the Aleutian region, the Pacific plate goes under the North American one, a process called subduction.
The reason why geologists are fearing a massive event stems from the fact that the Alaskan region has been extremely quiet in recent years, like the calm before a storm. Usually, small earthquakes and other similar events somewhat normalize the underwater tectonic pressure levels, so if a tsunami event occurs, its level is relatively low, causing floods on a small scale.
If too much pressure and tension get built up along the fault line, once the two tectonic plates create a quake, its magnitude will be exponentially higher creating gigantic tsunamis. Another dangerous factor comes from a specific region called the Semidi.
Because the Aleutian chain is in the form of an arc, waves get propagated along its structure, usually making tsunamis reach underpopulated areas or simply subside before reaching the shoreline. But Semidi aims directly at the center of California. If a tsunami comes from that region, it would go straight towards Los Angeles and San Francisco, bringing chaos to wherever it may strike.
Earthquakes in the Semidi region happen on a regular basis, ranging from once every 180 to 270 years. The last major earthquake happened back in 1788, making geologists assume that another big event is probably just around the corner. Other scientific parties claim that this would not happen because the plates in that region move slowly against one another, relieving tension in the process.
But that does not dismiss the threat of tsunamis in any way because this slow movement can cause earthquakes on its own, even if at a smaller magnitude. Quake-created tsunamis originating from this movement have appeared six or seven times over the past 1,700 years, making geologists state that the odds of a similar event occurring in the next few years are relatively high.
The claim that tsunamis from Alaska might threaten California and Hawaii is not made in the hopes of instilling panic in the general public. The two teams simply want to raise awareness so that the Californian population can become somewhat prepared if this type of event will occur. If an earthquake truly happens in that region, the tsunami’s scale would be larger than the one which struck Japan back in 2011. Taking into account the amount of devastation brought forth by the aforementioned event, US citizens should seriously consider their options in regards to protecting themselves from massive floods and other similar effects created by a tsunami.