In a reactionary post entitled “California’s Next Big One” following the devastating tsunami in Japan, I made the following statement:
Tsunamis in California are not likely. The fault off the coast of Japan is a “thrust” fault where the edges of two massive continental plates push against each other, creative subduction zones that displace large amounts of water. The fault in California is a “strike-slip” where the edges of the fault slide longitudinally against each other, displacing very little water.
Recently I was reading up on California earthquake history and came across the following, which, although it doesn’t outright contradict my original statement, importantly points out that tsunamis have taken Californian lives in the past:
1964 – A M7.9 quake in Alaska destroyed major sections of Anchorage. The quake triggered a tsunami that struck much of the California coastline and killed 11 people in Crescent City. Estimated losses along the California coast ranged from $1.5 to $2.375 million (California’s Hospital Seismic Safety Law, published by OSHPD).