Scientists Update California Tsunami Maps

December 21, 2009

Scientists have released updated tsunami maps pinpointing California coasts vulnerable to giant waves generated by an undersea earthquake.

Previous hazard maps only covered select coastal communities and focused on flooding risks from locally occurring temblors.

The second-generation maps, released Thursday at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, take into account the risks from an underwater quake that occurred far away. Scientists produced 130 maps covering 20 coastal counties.

Researchers said the maps were created to help emergency planners identify at-risk areas and plan for coastal evacuation and should not be used to set insurance rates or engineering standards.

Since 1812, six tsunamis have caused destruction along the California coast.

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