USGS report about the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario – EQ in Alaska triggers tsunami that hits California

On 27 March, 1964, an earthquake of magnitude 9.2 occurred offshore Alaska (Plafker, 1965) and caused a Pacific-wide tsunami. This quake was the second most powerful that was ever recorded and is also referred to as the Great Alaska Earthquake. The USGS has now released a report on a comparable tsunami scenario. The SAFRR (Science Application for Risk Reduction) Tsunami Scenario deals with a tsunami caused by a major quake off Alaska and investigates the possible impact at the coast of California. The report is not only about the geological aspects of the tsunami like seismogenic faults, paleotsunami research, and inundation maps. It’s also about the impact on society and economy, about emergency management and evacuation plans, and about political and other issues. The report, edited by Stephanie Ross and Lucile Jones, consists of 13 chapters and has almost 900 pages. You can download single chapters or the entire document here:

USGS shake map of the 1964 quake:

USGS Shake Map (source:

Here is some amazing footage from the 1964 quake:

The impact of the tsunami in Valdez:

Tsunami animation by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center:

Imagery from the earthquake effects can be found here.


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Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner

works at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Jena University. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and looks for ancient earthquakes.

See all posts Christoph Grützner

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