When you're investigating complex questions, you've often got to dig deep to find answers. A group of UC Santa Barbara geologists and their colleagues studying tsunamis did exactly that. The team used ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to search for physical evidence of a large tsunami that pounded the Northern California coast near Crescent City some 900 years ago. They discovered that the giant wave removed three to five times more sand than any historical El Niño storm across the Pacific Coast of the United States. The researchers also estimated how far inland the coast eroded. Their findings appear in the journal Marine Geology.
Member Highlight: A Tsunami’s Worth Of Sea Creatures Landed Along The Pacific Coast. Is This A Problem?
They’re a long way from home. Nearly 300 different species of fish, mussels, crabs and various other sea creatures drifted from the shores of Japan to the Pacific Coast of the United States on debris sent across the ocean by a tsunami in 2011.
A team of scientists found something hidden off the coast of Alaska that suggests a significant risk for future tsunamis in the area. The team made the discovery as they were conducting seismic surveys off the Alaskan coast to better understand the regional plate tectonics and subduction. The research, published in Nature Geoscience, provides evidence for an increased tsunami risk in an area previously thought to be low risk for tsunamis. The feature was found by a research team at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. It is similar to the feature that produced the devastating Tohoku tsunami in 2011 off Japan, which killed approximately 20,000 people and caused three nuclear reactors to melt down.
Benjamin Horton remembers being in Southeast Asia just months after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. “They were still dealing with a disaster,” he says. “The roads were in a terrible state.” But in those days, the formerly niche field of tsunami research had taken on new urgency. Horton, who studies sea levels at Rutgers University and Nanyang Technological University, was just one of dozens of researchers who came in search of answers: Had this happened before? Would it happen again?
Understanding "slow-slip" earthquakes on the seafloor—seismic events that occur over a period of days or weeks—is giving researchers new insights into undersea earthquakes and the subsequent creation of tsunamis. Through an ocean discovery program supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), scientists are studying the seafloor off the coast of Japan. The region could provide vital clues. Two tectonic plates, the Pacific Plate and the Eurasian Plate, meet there. In this ocean trench zone, the Pacific plate slides beneath the Eurasian plate. Such subduction zones are often associated with large earthquakes.
A new NASA study is challenging a long-held theory that tsunamis form and acquire their energy mostly from vertical movement of the seafloor. An undisputed fact was that most tsunamis result from a massive shifting of the seafloor—usually from the subduction, or sliding, of one tectonic plate under another during an earthquake. Experiments conducted in wave tanks in the 1970s demonstrated that vertical uplift of the tank bottom could generate tsunami-like waves.
Buoys operate as today's state-of-the-art tsunami-detection system. Seismic data can tell officials that an underwater earthquake has occurred, but strategically placed floating sensors often give the key warning if the earthquake has created a potentially devastating series of waves. Even so, warnings are often issued only minutes before a tsunami hits—if at all.
Member Highlight: A New Tsunami-Warning System: Scientists Devise way To Relay Sound Signals Under Water
After successfully testing a long-range underwater communications system that worked under Arctic Ocean ice, an engineering team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) adapted it for a very different environment—the tropics—and for a different purpose—to provide warnings of impending tsunamis. While the Arctic sound-signaling system lets researchers communicate with robotic vehicles operating beneath sea ice, the tropical system, tested in 2016 off Indonesia, is designed to relay signals “from an undersea sensor network to shore, where they can be used to estimate the level of the potential tsunami,” said Lee Freitag, the WHOI engineer who led the project.
The tsunami of 2011 is well remembered in Japan. Some towns have recovered, while others struggle to return to a life that once was. The same is true for ecosystems. In a new study in PLOS ONE, Japanese researchers report how the sea life in different coastal regions of Japan struck by the tsunami have flourished or faltered. "We watched in real time an ecosystem recover from a large natural disaster," said Reiji Masuda, who directs the Maizuru Fisheries Research Station at Kyoto University and led the study. "We could observe how species recovered and whether any invading species could thrive."
What may be the largest exposed fault on Earth has been seen and documented by scientists for the first time. The 'Banda Detachment' fault in eastern Indonesia would explain a 7.2km (4.4 mile) deep abyss under the Banda Sea, which until now has remained a mystery to geologists. This area where the fault was found sits in the Ring of Fire, an area in the basin of the Pacific ocean where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. Sitting under the Banda Sea is the Weber Deep – the deepest point in our planet's ocean that does not sit in a trench.
Seismologists in Japan have tracked, for the first time, a particular type of tiny vibration that wobbled through the Earth from the Atlantic seafloor. It was started by a "weather bomb": the same low-pressure storm, off Greenland, which made UK headlines in late 2014.
Researchers who analyzed a history of tsunamis along the Pacific coast of Japan's Tohoku region have learned that seawalls higher than 5 meters reduce damage and death, while coastal forests also play an important role in protecting the public.
When Greenland's melting glaciers lose large chunks of ice, it's a violent process. Last year, for instance, scientists documented that gigantic glacial earthquakes are triggered by the rolling and tumbling of billion-ton icebergs as they break away and hit the glaciers to which they once belonged – hard
Very little is known about ocean currents and generally about dynamics in the oceans. But radioactivity released into the Pacific by the Fukushima nuclear accident, which was quickly diluted to harmless levels, has allowed scientists to trace the ocean’s currents.
Scientists have developed the Time Reverse Imaging Method to take real-time data from the ocean sensors and use that information to recreate what the tsunami looked like when it was born. Once scientists have the tsunami source pinpointed, they can use it to make better predictions about what will happen once the waves reach shore. This new method is fast enough to compete with existing algorithms but much more accurate.
After an earthquake, less than 20% of the carbon in the water from plants and soil had been released through oxidation before being carried away by the river. Thus, they estimate that most of the 14 megatonnes of carbon that was probably released by the earthquake ended up being stored away.
Japan's lead in implementing sea defence improvements to guard against future disasters is an important reference point for other tsunami-prone nations, a study led by Plymouth University has suggested.
The world may not be well prepared for the next significant tsunami, reports Northwestern University tsunami expert Emile A. Okal in a new study that includes a "wisdom index" for 17 tsunamis since 2004.
Engineers at OSU have completed one of the most precise evaluations yet done about the impact of a major tsunami event on the Columbia River, what forces are most important in controlling water flow and what areas might be inundated.
Scientists had rarely seen such an astounding sight: sea creatures that had survived hundreds of blistering days and frigid nights crossing the thrashing Pacific.
An ocean engineer at the University of Rhode Island has found that a massive underwater landslide, combined with the 9.0 earthquake, was responsible for triggering the deadly tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011.
Today, Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee, Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) introduced H.R. 5309, the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2014.
New research has revealed the causes and warning signs of rare tsunami earthquakes, which may lead to improved detection measures.
The Caribbean usually conjures images of white sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise water, but beneath the sea's tranquil surface, powerful forces are at work.
The amount of debris in the ocean is growing exponentially, becoming more and more hazardous and harmful to marine life and therefore also to our ocean food source.
Radiation In Calif. Kelp? Scientists To Test West Coast Water 3 Years After Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown
California biologists plan to test coastal kelp for traces of radioactive material three years after the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan.
Every morning, hundreds of pounds of fresh fish, hauled in from ports across eastern Japan, is rushed to this sleepy town hours away from the capital.
Radiation levels in seawater just outside one of the damaged Fukushima reactors spiked this week to the highest level in two years
The devastating earthquake that struck Japan in 2011 may have unexpectedly released nearly all of the energy that had built up near the source of the resulting tsunami, new research suggests.
The $300-per-pound price is still five times costlier than traditional mining, and a Department of Energy-funded analysis found that to be infeasible in the current economy.
A recent episode of Discovery Channel Canada's "Daily Planet" series featured earthquake research on the Chikyu, including the JFAST expedition (underway on April 1) and the long-term NanTroSEIZE project.
An international research team is reporting the results of a research cruise they organized to study the amount, spread, and impacts of radiation released into the ocean from the tsunami-crippled reactors in Fukushima, Japan.
As the waves of a tsunami approach a coastline, the topography of the seafloor near the coast plays a major role in determining how large those waves become and what places get hit harder than others.
Fish and plankton collected from the Pacific Ocean near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contain elevated levels of radioactive materials, but below levels that pose a threat to public health, researchers reported Tuesday.
Scientists have just returned from an expedition onboard the research vessel JOIDES Resolution, during which they recovered five kilometers of core samples from an area never before drilled.
Debris from the tsunami that devastated Japan in March could reach the United States as early as this winter, according to predictions by NOAA scientists.
Scientists from the country's leading oceanography institutions are at work on a five-year construction project that, when finished, will give instant access to anyone able to click a mouse to information from the surface waters to the very depths of the sea.