Tsunami worries might be overstated in Richmond

Apparently Richmond residents don't have to worry about a significant tsunami striking Lulu and Sea islands.

Last Tuesday morning a large earthquake off the coast of Alaska resulted in tsunami warnings for parts of the West Coast, but it did not result in such alarms for Richmond.

This is because scientific studies and wave modelling have shown that even the largest mega earthquake along the Cascadia subduction zone, off the west coast of Vancouver Island will not result in large waves striking Richmond. 'Any tsunami generated in the open Pacific is of little threat to Vancouver, Richmond or Delta', says University of BC oceanographer Dr Susan Allen.

The City of Richmond, back in 2005 commissioned a study by Simon Fraser University on this matter. It found that there is no geological evidence of a significant tsunami hitting Richmond in the last 4,000 years despite there being numerous nearby mega quakes.

Allen agreed with this study, which notes any large tsunami would dissipate through the Juan de Fuca Strait as it wraps around the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Furthermore, Sturgeon Bank and the Fraser River Delta tidal flats would further lessen a wave's energy. The models show any wave reaching the West Dyke would be about a half a metre high, well within the dyke's ability to block water from flowing inland.

The problem is, such a tsunami warning will strengthen as Sturgeon Bank and the tidal flats slowly erode by dredging operations and sea level rise.

Last Tuesday over 100 people successfully registered with the city's 'Richmond BC Alert' cellphone emergency notification system at RichmondBCAlert.ca. Probably a pretty good idea for peace of mind!

Richmond aerial


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