New tsunami hazard maps highlight threat facing seven California counties — even Napa County — as the Pacific becomes increasingly vulnerable to tsunamis.
California’s recent earthquakes, including a 7.9 magnitude temblor in San Francisco in 1989, have triggered tsunamis in Japan in 2009 and 2011. And now, with the passage of SB 33 by state senator Scott Wiener, California policymakers are about to take one giant step towards the largest of tsunami mitigation strategies: creating a map of known earthquakes and tsunamis for the Golden State.
What is SB 33?
SB 33, which passed the state Senate last week, seeks to create a statewide database which can be used to predict earthquakes and tsunamis. Specifically, the legislation seeks to create a “surveillance system” for earthquakes and tsunamis, including a map that can determine how and where major earthquakes and tsunamis occur.
The legislation requires California’s Geological Survey to create a database to track, predict, and report on earthquakes and tsunamis, which would be accessible to researchers, the public, and the state and local governments. The database would map both natural and human-induced earthquakes and tsunamis and identify the threat of these natural disasters to California’s coastlines.
“The new tsunami maps will help to protect coastal communities and ecosystems from coastal hazards – both natural and man-made,” said California state senator Scott Wiener, a sponsor of the legislation. “The system will allow us to be better stewards of our natural resources including coastal wetlands and agricultural lands. SB 33 is one key piece of a comprehensive plan to help protect the state’s coastline.”
“This is a big move forward for California and other coastal communities by recognizing the increased risk of tsunami and earthquake related disasters,” said California state senator Ben Hueso. “The California Geological Survey has a stellar history of mapping and modeling earthquakes and tsun