Earthquake experts see warning for California in new tsunami study on risk to Caribbean

Haiti and Jamaica are at greater risk for destructive tsunami than previously believed, according to a new study of tsunami generated during the catastrophic Haiti earthquake in January.

The study, published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, raises troubling questions about the possibility of high death tolls should a large earthquake hit Jamaica, which could cause populated coastal areas to collapse into the Caribbean Sea, and trigger tsunami that would rebound back to shore….

Costas Synolakis, director of the Tsunami Research Center at USC, who was also not involved in the study, said Californians need to be better prepared. “The lesson here is, we really need to prepare for this. Even if they are rare events, they are high-impact events,” Synolakis said.

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Scientists to create the most detailed map of California coastline ever assembled

Posted: 07/18/2010 04:01:48 AM PDT

Updated: 07/18/2010 04:23:40 AM PDT
Their tools are laser beams, airplanes and computer software — instead of compasses, wooden ships and parchment.

But more than 400 years after explorers like Sir Francis Drake and Sebastian Vizcaino made some of the first maps of California’s spectacular coastline, state and federal scientists are embarking on a new project to construct the most detailed map of the California coast ever assembled.

The $3.3 million effort will begin with researchers in an airplane flying back and forth along the coast shooting thousands of laser pulses per second at the rocks, beaches and cliffs along the 1,200-mile shoreline from Mexico to Oregon, generating ultra-detailed 3-D images of the contours of the land in huge computer files.

“We need a better sense of what’s out there. We need a modern map. And with a modern map we’ll have the knowledge to make better decisions,” said Doug George, a project manager with the Ocean Protection Council, a state agency in Oakland that approved $2.75 million toward the project last month.

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