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Huntington Beach, CA, United States

Legg M.R.,Legg Geophysical | Kohler M.D.,California Institute of Technology | Shintaku N.,Brown University | Weeraratne D.S.,California State University, Northridge
Journal of Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface

New mapping of two active transpressional fault zones in the California Continental Borderland, the Santa Cruz-Catalina Ridge fault and the Ferrelo fault, was carried out to characterize their geometries, using over 4500 line-km of new multibeam bathymetry data collected in 2010 combined with existing data. Faults identified from seafloor morphology were verified in the subsurface using existing seismic reflection data including single-channel and multichannel seismic profiles compiled over the past three decades. The two fault systems are parallel and are capable of large lateral offsets and reverse slip during earthquakes. The geometry of the fault systems shows evidence of multiple segments that could experience throughgoing rupture over distances exceeding 100 km. Published earthquake hypocenters from regional seismicity studies further define the lateral and depth extent of the historic fault ruptures. Historical and recent focal mechanisms obtained from first-motion and moment tensor studies confirm regional strain partitioning dominated by right slip on major throughgoing faults with reverse-oblique mechanisms on adjacent structures. Transpression on west and northwest trending structures persists as far as 270 km south of the Transverse Ranges; extension persists in the southern Borderland. A logjam model describes the tectonic evolution of crustal blocks bounded by strike-slip and reverse faults which are restrained from northwest displacement by the Transverse Ranges and the southern San Andreas fault big bend. Because of their potential for dip-slip rupture, the faults may also be capable of generating local tsunamis that would impact Southern California coastlines, including populated regions in the Channel Islands. ©2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

Wilson R.I.,California Geological Survey | Dengler L.A.,Humboldt State University | Goltz J.D.,California Emergency Management Agency | Legg M.R.,Legg Geophysical | And 3 more authors.
Earth-Science Reviews

State geoscientists (geologists, geophysicists, seismologists, and engineers) in California work closely with federal, state and local government emergency managers to help prepare coastal communities for potential impacts from a tsunami before, during, and after an event. For teletsunamis, as scientific information (forecast model wave heights, first-wave arrival times, etc.) from NOAA's West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center is made available, federal- and state-level emergency managers must help convey this information in a concise, comprehensible and timely manner to local officials who ultimately determine the appropriate response activities for their jurisdictions. During the September 29, 2009 Tsunami Advisory for California, government geoscientists assisted the California Emergency Management Agency by providing technical assistance during teleconference meetings with NOAA and other state and local emergency managers prior to the arrival of the tsunami. This technical assistance included background information on anticipated tidal conditions when the tsunami was set to arrive, wave height estimates from state-modeled scenarios for areas not covered by NOAA's forecast models, and clarifying which regions of the state were at greatest risk. Over the last year, state geoscientists have started to provide additional assistance: 1) working closely with NOAA to simplify their tsunami alert messaging and expand their forecast modeling coverage; 2) creating "playbooks" containing information from existing tsunami scenarios for local emergency managers to reference during an event; and, 3) developing a state-level information "clearinghouse" and pre-tsunami field response team to assist local officials as well as observe and report tsunami effects. Activities of geoscientists were expanded during the more recent Tsunami Advisory on February 27, 2010, including deploying a geologist from the California Geological Survey as a field observer who provided information back to emergency managers. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

Wilson R.I.,California Geological Survey | Admire A.R.,Humboldt State University | Borrero J.C.,University of Southern California | Borrero J.C.,ASR Ltd | And 8 more authors.
Pure and Applied Geophysics

The coast of California was significantly impacted by two recent teletsunami events, one originating off the coast of Chile on February 27, 2010 and the other off Japan on March 11, 2011. These tsunamis caused extensive inundation and damage along the coast of their respective source regions. For the 2010 tsunami, the NOAA West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a state-wide Tsunami Advisory based on forecasted tsunami amplitudes ranging from 0.18 to 1.43 m with the highest amplitudes predicted for central and southern California. For the 2011 tsunami, a Tsunami Warning was issued north of Point Conception and a Tsunami Advisory south of that location, with forecasted amplitudes ranging from 0.3 to 2.5 m, the highest expected for Crescent City. Because both teletsunamis arrived during low tide, the potential for significant inundation of dry land was greatly reduced during both events. However, both events created rapid water-level fluctuations and strong currents within harbors and along beaches, causing extensive damage in a number of harbors and challenging emergency managers in coastal jurisdictions. Field personnel were deployed prior to each tsunami to observe and measure physical effects at the coast. Post-event survey teams and questionnaires were used to gather information from both a physical effects and emergency response perspective. During the 2010 tsunami, a maximum tsunami amplitude of 1.2 m was observed at Pismo Beach, and over $3-million worth of damage to boats and docks occurred in nearly a dozen harbors, most significantly in Santa Cruz, Ventura, Mission Bay, and northern Shelter Island in San Diego Bay. During the 2011 tsunami, the maximum amplitude was measured at 2.47 m in Crescent City Harbor with over $50-million in damage to two dozen harbors. Those most significantly affected were Crescent City, Noyo River, Santa Cruz, Moss Landing, and southern Shelter Island. During both events, people on docks and near the ocean became at risk to injury with one fatality occurring during the 2011 tsunami at the mouth of the Klamath River. Evaluations of maximum forecasted tsunami amplitudes indicate that the average percent error was 38 and 28 % for the 2010 and 2011 events, respectively. Due to these recent events, the California tsunami program is developing products that will help: (1) the maritime community better understand tsunami hazards within their harbors, as well as if and where boats should go offshore to be safe, and (2) emergency managers develop evacuation plans for relatively small "Warning" level events where extensive evacuation is not required. Because tsunami-induced currents were responsible for most of the damage in these two events, modeled current velocity estimates should be incorporated into future forecast products from the warning centers. © 2012 Springer Basel (outside the USA). Source

Barberopoulou A.,University of Southern California | Borrero J.C.,University of Southern California | Borrero J.C.,ASR Ltd | Uslu B.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 3 more authors.
Pure and Applied Geophysics

A new generation of tsunami inundation maps is now available for 20 coastal counties in California. These maps represent an improvement over previous efforts, as they are based on the most recent descriptions of potential tsunami sources, apply recently updated numerical modeling techniques, and cover previously unmapped regions of the State. Since the maps are based on deterministic rather than probabilistic modeling, they are only intended for emergency preparedness and evacuation planning and are not to be used in engineering siting studies. The California maps cover a greater coastal area than any other US State. To be helpful, the maps need to be integrated into a consistent statewide hazard-planning framework. Indeed, tsunami preparedness in California was tested on several occasions over the past 5 years, i. e., during the 14 June 2005 event, about 90 miles SW of Crescent City, the 15 November 2006 Kuril Islands, and the 27 February 2010 Chile earthquake. We discuss briefly the State's response as these events unfolded. © 2011 Springer Basel AG. Source

Barberopoulou A.,University of Southern California | Legg M.R.,Legg Geophysical | Uslu B.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Synolakis C.E.,University of Southern California
Natural Hazards

We assess tsunami hazards in San Diego Bay, California, using newly identified offshore tsunami sources and recently available high resolution bathymetric/topographic data. Using MOST (Titov and Synolakis, J Waterways Port Coastal Ocean Eng ASCE 124(4):57-171, 1998), we simulate locally, regionally and distant-generated tsunamis. Local tsunami source models use more realistic fault and landslide data than previous efforts. With the exception of the Alaska-Aleutian Trench, modeling results suggest that local sources are responsible for the largest waves within the San Diego Bay and Mission Bay. Because San Diego Bay is relatively well protected by North Island and the Silver Strand, the wave heights predicted are consistently smaller inside the harbor than outside. However, historical accounts, recent tsunamis and our predictions show that San Diego Bay is vulnerable to strong tsunami induced currents. More specifically, large currents are expected inside the harbor for various distant and local tsunami sources with estimated flow velocities exceeding 100 cm/s. Such currents have been damaging to harbor facilities, such as wharves and piers, and may cause boats to break from moorings and ram into adjacent harbor structures, as observed in recent historic tsunamis. More recently, following the Mw 8.8 February 27, 2010 Chile earthquake, tsunami-currents damaged docks/piers in Shelter Island confirming our findings. We note that the first generation of inundation maps in use in San Diego County by emergency management was based on much larger "worst case but realistic scenarios" (Synolakis et al. 2002a), which reflected the understanding of offshore hazards pervasive ten years ago. Large inundation and overland flow depths were observed primarily in local tsunami source simulations. In particular, locally induced tsunamis appear capable to overtop the Silver Strand. The results suggest that further work needs to be carried out with respect to local tsunami sources as they seem to have worse impact in the San Diego region than previously thought but probably low probability of occurrence. We also predict that a coastal community can be devastated simultaneously by large waves inundating shores and large currents in locations with small flow depths. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

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