Signs warning of tsunami dangers posted in state parks

Posted: Monday, June 05, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Signs are being posted in state parks warning visitors of the danger of tidal waves caused by earthquakes.

The warning signs are going up this week near recreational-use cabins at Shoup Bay State Marine Park near Valdez. The signs warn visitors to seek high ground or move inland in the event of an earthquake to avoid the danger of a tsunami or tidal wave.

Sitka, Homer and Sand Point have already started installing the signs in their communities.

The state Department of Emergency Services is making the signs available to communities that have created a tsunami mitigation plan and established evacuation routes.

Tom Sokolowski, director of the Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, said there have been 10 tsunami warnings issued in the past 13 years in Alaska. In about half those cases, a small tsunami was generated by a strong earthquake.

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 or stronger is capable of creating a tsunami.

The last devastating tsunami to hit Alaska occurred after the 1964 Good Friday earthquake. The earthquake registered 8.4 on the old Richter scale and is pegged at 9.2 magnitude on the scale scientists now use. The quake and tsunamis that followed killed 131 people.

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