A new study questions whether current scientific models underestimate the potential magnitude of tsunamis off the coast of British Columbia in the event of a large-scale earthquake.
The ocean plate off the coast of British Columbia moves a few centimeters toward Vancouver Island each year, says seismologist John Cassidy, and when that happens sediment builds up.
“If you think about a bulldozer going through the sand or through some soil, it’s kind of pushing everything forward and stacking things,” he said. “[That’s] Exactly the same as the ocean plate. “
The study, published in the journal Earth Science Reviews, looks at how these sediments affect earthquakes in subduction zones around the world.
South of BC lies the Cascadia Subduction, which stretches from northern Vancouver Island all the way to northern California.
“What this study says is that not only will tsunamis be generated by fault movement, but also likely fault movement in sediments that have been scraped over the years,” said Kate Moran, CEO of Ocean Networks. Canada.
“So, in fact, there could be higher waves being generated in different locations on the planet,” she said.
Local experts say that although the study is an important reminder of the dangers of a tsunami, the researchers here are unlikely to change their current forecast.
“It’s not something we’re changing our models or our risk estimates at this time because it’s one piece of a very complex puzzle,” Cassidy said.
However, the seismologist says all the information on how to accurately predict what to expect from a tsunami can help protect people and property.
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