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U.S. West Coast Faces Tsunami Threat

Tuesday, 21 Jul 2009 03:11 PM

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The United State’s western coast is facing the increasing risk of a massive tsunami, according to an analysis of sedimentation along the Gulf of Alaska coast.

It has happened before. In 1964, a magnitude 9.2 earthquake off the coast of Alaska generated a wall of water more than 40 feet high that hit Alaska, Oregon and parts of California, killing 130 people and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Now, geologists say an even bigger tsunami could someday be in store for the West Coast.

The 1964 earthquake occurred in the Aleutian subduction zone, where the Pacific plate is being pushed beneath the North American continent. When scientists studied evidence of older quakes in the Aleutian zone and the subduction zone immediately to the east, they found the two have ruptured simultaneously in the past.

Read the full story at Wired magazine.

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