Mentawais 2010 Video

Prepared for the National Science Foundation by Costas Synolakis. Appearances by Professors Hermann Fritz, Jose Borrero, Costas Synolakis, and Mr. Vassilios Skanavis. Continue reading

The 25 October 2010 Mentawai Earthquake and Tsunami

On October 25, 2010 a magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck south of S. Pagai island off Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that killed over 400 people. Initial reports related that there was no warning communicated to the Mentawais and that the Indonesian … Continue reading

Waving the Tsunami Warning Flag

Re-posted from the Wall Street Journal Asia: This week’s twin disasters in Indonesia—the eruption of Mount Merapi and the 7.7-magnitude earthquake off west-central Sumatra—have again brought warning systems and emergency preparedness into the spotlight. The resulting view is far from … Continue reading

Is Los Angeles at higher risk for tsunamis?

A study just published in Nature Geophysicas by Hornbach et al (2010) reports that the 12 January 2010 strike-slip earthquake that killed over 220,000 people in Haiti also triggered a 3m tsunami. The associated press release (at the end of this item) claims that the study implies that Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas around the world are at higher risk of tsunamis. Continue reading

Report: Tsunami detection improves, but coastal areas still vulnerable

The nation’s ability to detect and forecast tsunamis has improved since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but current efforts are still not sufficient to meet challenges posed by tsunamis generated near land that leave little time for warning, says a … Continue reading

National Academies Report on nation’s tsunami preparedness released on 17 September 2010

The National Research Council of the National Academies released a long awaited report on the nation’s ability to detect tsunamis. According to it, while our ability has improved in the last few years, many coastal communities remain at risk because … Continue reading

Anniversary of the 2004 Megatsunami – goes largely unnoticed


The 5 year anniversary of the 26 December 2004 tsunami came and passed without much fanfare. We were all painfully reminded of tsunamis within the first two months of 2010 with the Solomon Islands, Haitian and Chilean tsunamis, that combined may have killed over 400 people, largely unnecessarily, given that tsunami preparedness works, and forecast technology is now available. Continue reading

Second Generation of Tsunami Inundation Maps for California

The second generation of tsunami inundation maps for the State of California were released on December 17, 2009 at a press conference at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, California. The maps are a product of a collaboration … Continue reading

Community education and evacuation planning saved lives in Sept. 29 Samoan tsunami

Community-based education and awareness programs minimized the death toll from the recent Samoan tsunami, though there are still ways to improve the warning and evacuation process, according to a team of researchers that traveled to Samoa last month.

The Mediterranean doesn’t have a tsunami warning system, yet

There is no tsunami warning system in Europe despite UNESCO’s efforts to coordinate countries to form a regional center, as UNESCO did for the Pacific. Read our opinion about Europe’s tsunami of inaction as published in the Wall Street Journal, … Continue reading