April 24th Chapter Meeting

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Join your Chapter Colleagues for a fascinating presentation about Tsunami Planning Activities in California.

Time: 5:30-7:30pm
Where: Offices of the URS Corporation, 1 Montgomery Street, 8th floor, San Francisco, CA (In the One Montgomery Tower adjacent to the Crocker Galleria on Post between Kearny and Montgomery. There is also an entrance to the building lobby at 120 Kearny Street ) (Map)
RSVP: chapterinfo@eerinc.org by Monday April 22nd.  Only those who respond and are on the guest list will be able to pass building security, so please RSVP.

Tsunami Planning Activities in California:  Applying Lessons Learned from Recent Events


Rick Wilson
RW_photo infront of tsunami stone in Aneyoshi JapanRick Wilson is a Senior Engineering Geologist with the California Geological Survey (CGS) who has worked for over 20 years in the geologic and seismic hazard fields, much of it with the state Seismic Hazard Mapping Program.  For the past six years, Mr. Wilson has been the Science Coordinator for the State of California Tsunami Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation Program, a program headed by the California Emergency Management Agency.  This program, with tsunami researchers from the University of Southern California, recently completed work on statewide tsunami inundation maps for emergency planning, and is working on similar tsunami hazard products and guidance for the maritime and land-use planning communities.  Mr. Wilson is also the state Science Representative on the Coordinating Committee of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP), a partnership between federal and state governmental agencies designed to reduce the impact of tsunamis through hazard assessment, warning guidance, and mitigation.  He also serves as the State Co-Chair of the NTHMP Mapping and Modeling Subcommittee which helps guide state and federal tsunami hazard mapping efforts to make sure they are done in an accurate and consistent manner.


The State of California Tsunami Program, comprised of the California Emergency Management Agency and California Geological Survey and funded through the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, works with multiple other state, federal, and academic organizations to improve tsunami preparedness and mitigation in the state.  This work includes evaluation of the February 27, 2010 Chile and March 11, 2011 Japan tsunamis, which caused dramatic loss of life and damage in the near-source region and notable impacts in California.  In Japan, reconnaissance of the impacted areas and discussions with academic and governmental officials have provided California scientists a unique opportunity for learning valuable lessons from large, devastating tsunamis.  In California, comprehensive real-time and post-tsunami field surveys and the availability of hundreds of videos within harbors and marinas allow for detailed documentation of these two events more specific to our coastline.  Although neither event caused significant inundation of dry land in California, dozens of harbors sustained damage totaling nearly $100-million.  Information gathered from these events has guided new strategies for emergency response, maritime, and land-use planners:

  • Review of the 2011 event in Japan has led to a reassessment of the tsunami threat faced by California’s north coast from the Cascadia subduction zone.
  • Scenario-specific, tsunami evacuation “playbook” maps and guidance are being produced detailing inundation from tsunamis of various size and source location.
  • In maritime communities, evaluation of strong tsunami currents and damage are being used to validate/calibrate numerical tsunami model currents, and produce in-harbor hazard maps and identify offshore safety zones for potential boat evacuation when a tsunami Warning is issued for a distant source event.
  • The large number of exposed communities and structures in Japan provides incentive for California to develop “probability-based” products more appropriate for land-use planning under the Seismic Hazard Mapping Act.
  • Real-time and post-tsunami field teams have been expanded to capture additional detailed information that can be shared in a timelier manner during and after an event through a state-wide clearinghouse.

These new products and related efforts will result in more accurate and efficient planning and response by coastal communities, potentially reducing the loss of lives and property during future tsunamis.

Register today at:


EERI Northern California Chapter | c/o EERI National | 499 14th Street Suite 320 | Oakland, CA 94612-1934 USA | chapterinfo@eerinc.org