The California Geological Survey released a new tsunami hazard area map. The updated map identifies tsunami risk areas in seven counties: Ventura, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Diego, Marin, Sonoma and Solano. The map identifies the risk areas and the degree of risk in order to help the residents prepare for potential evacuation.

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This is the first time the agency has released a detailed tsunami hazard map in over a decade. The last map was released in 2009, but a lot has changed technologically since then.

Related: A new island emerges after volcanic eruption in the Pacific

Tsunamis are rare in California, but the entire coastline of the state is exposed to potential tsunami occurrences. According to the governor’s Office of Emergency Services, there is a huge potential of tsunamis occurring anywhere along California’s coast. A tsunami last hit California in August, following the Tonga volcanic eruption in the South Pacific Ocean.

One example of the latest modeling shows that an earthquake off the Aleutian Islands near Alaska would result in 18 to 25 feet of tsunami waves in Santa Cruz. This effect would be twice as high as predicted by the 2009 modeling. The new modeling also pays attention to other water bodies where tsunamis could travel.

According to the National Weather Service, tsunami waves could travel up most water bodies including rivers that flow to oceans. In other words, tsunamis could cause flooding upstream if they are not contained. The experts warn that the worst places to be when a tsunami strikes are beaches, bays, lagoons, estuaries, tidal flats and river mouths.

With more than half of California’s population residing on the coast, it is important to provide sufficient information about the possibility of tsunami occurrences. The map provides more accurate information that locals can use to prepare for the worst. Even so, the probability of a tsunami occurring in California is very low. 

“Our goal is to ensure that coastal communities are aware of and prepared for the next tsunami,” the California Geological Survey said. “The updated Tsunami Hazard Area Maps can be used by officials, communities and individuals/families to update or create their tsunami evacuation plans.”

Via Los Angeles Times

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