Can California Be Hit by Tsunamis?

Given the fact that California experiences an average of one tsunami a year, it is essential to be aware of the warning signs and evacuation routes. Nick Graehl, an engineering geologist at the California Geological Survey, explains that in Southern California, a tsunami of either local or distant origin could appear as a wall of water up to 10 to 25 feet high or as swirling currents in the bay. In such a case, people in Southern California would have around five hours of warning before the wave hits. A computer model created by Jones showed what a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off the coast of Alaska could do in Southern California, which is more than 2,000 miles away.

The resulting tsunami flooded Crescent City along the Northern California coast with a surge that caused 12 deaths. It would take approximately five to six hours for a tsunami triggered in the northern region to reach the southernmost tip of the West Coast, giving residents and tourists in Southern California enough time to reach higher ground. Don Drysdale, spokesman for the California Geological Survey, advises people to be mindful of potential tsunamis when visiting crowded beaches on holidays such as Labor Day.Graehl also states that the chances of experiencing a smaller tsunami are higher in Southern California than in other parts of the state. He understands that Californians have many safety concerns such as earthquakes and wildfires to consider.

If you are wondering why you haven't heard about all these tsunamis that hit California, it is because most of them were barely noticed and few have caused significant death or damage. Fortunately, it appears that the Bay Area and the rest of California were spared from major destruction on Saturday.

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