UAF scientist maps potential tsunami damage in Alaska

Science for Alaska Lecture

This tsunami inundation map of Valdez, Alaska shows the areas that would be flooded in the event of a tsunami. This map was created by the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys and UAF’s Geophysical Institute. These type of maps can help government plan evacuations in the case of a tsunami. Josh Hartman/ Sun Star

Josh Hartman / Sun Star

Two tsunami disasters in 2004 and 2011 have left a large impact according the Science for Alaska: 2016 lectures website. Even people who live inland should know about the dangers of tsunamis because many of Alaska’s largest cities are on the coast, according to Elena Suleimani, a research analyst at UAF’s Geophysical Institute

This is the premise of the lecture to be given by Suleimani, for the Science for Alaska Series. She will be presenting “Tsunamis: how nature keeps surprising scientists” which will be held at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel’s Gold room on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. 

Suleimani is currently working on a project called Alaska Tsunami Inundation Mapping. This project is to visit coastal communities all over Alaska and create maps of how far flooding will occur in the event of a tsunami. Alaska has the greatest potential for earthquakes and tsunamis in the U.S. according to the project’s website

“We cannot yet predict the next tsunami is going to happen, but at the same time we can prepare and educate the population,” Suleimani said in an interview on Jan. 27. “This can save lives.” 

Suleimani will be presenting her research in addition to some basic physics of tsunami waves and information about recent disasters caused by tsunamis.

The Science for Alaska Lecture series is a public outreach event sponsored by the Geophysical Institute.

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