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RE: Philosophical Discussion

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There are many types of structures that for one reason or another must be located in tsunami prone areas.  A tsunami is a harbor wave.  And there are many structures in and around a harbor.  There are methodologies that can be employed to resist the effects of a tsunami, but they are not well studied.  Neither too is the method of predicting probabilities and magnitudes of tsunamis.

For a given site it should at least be determined whether or not the local marine topography and the subduction zone proximity is conducive to a tsunami.  If the answer is yes, then further evaluations should be made.

But this particular branch of engineering is almost nonexistent.

It is unfortunate that we generally wait until our own country is directly effected by a major disaster, before anyone reacts.  For another example of tsunami damage, look back at the Hokkaido earthquake.

Harold Sprague, PE
Chairman -Technical Subcommittee 13 - Nonbuilding Structures  of the BSSC.  
Krawinkler, Luth & Assoc.

-----Original Message-----
From:	raranous(--nospam--at) [SMTP:raranous(--nospam--at)]
Sent:	Sunday, July 19, 1998 8:58 PM
To:	seaint
Subject:	Philosophical Discussion

I'm sure you all saw Shafat's message regarding the New Guinea
earthquake.  This morning's newspaper talked about the 26 foot (?)
tsunami which struck the island resulting in widspread destruction and

Recent studies for the California North Coast area (California-Oregon
Border) indicate the potential for a 30 m (approx. 90 ft) tsunami
resulting from a maximum credible event at the "tripple junction" not
far off shore from Eureka, California.

My philosophical question is--As engineer's is there any feasible, yet
economical, way to deal with tsunami's of the size experienced or

It seems to me that there is not an economical method to deal with
structural damage.  However, maybe land use policies need to be
addressed.  This works for the US and probably for Canada (hope the
Canadian members respond to this) but would it work in other countries
such as Japan?  Wholesale relocation of businesses and residences is an
expensive proposition.  But is it more economical to relocate now, or
wait until the event occurs and have to do it when people have lost

I will be very anxious to hear opinions on this topic.  We readily
address seismic design issues, and tsunamis are a part of the seismic
hazard.  Opinions?

Rick Ranous
Governor's Office of Emergency Services