Could a Tsunami Hit Southern California (Torrey Pines)?
Well, it has been a year after the devastating Japan earthquake and the resulting tsunami. There are many places in SoCal that would be hit hard if a tsunami actually reached our shores. One of the worst places to be would be the beach at Torrey Pines.
I remember the forecasters predicting what time the tidal wave would hit North San Diego County. I wanted to watch it and “wisely” went to Beacon’s Beach for the protection of the bluff height (Torrey Pines is just too flat). I was there with about 100 onlookers.
June Gloom or Tsunami?
This cloud bank off Beacon’s is how I envisioned the tsunami.
Fortunately nothing happened.
But could a tsunami hit Del Mar? Yep… We are on the Pacific Ocean exposed to the Ring of Fire and all the earthquakes that can be produced by tectonic actions, massive underwater landslides (ie Hawaii) and volcanoes.
Here is what the the Tsunami Research Center says about a tsunami hitting the Los Angeles (or San Diego) area. “Concerns over the possibility of strike-slip or other moderate earthquakes of magnitude less than 7.0 near the coastline or onshore triggering large tsunamis nearshore was the motivation for the initiation of California’s tsunami inundation mapping program in 1999, which eventually got us the tsunami signs identifying risk areas in most state beach areas. The mapping effort started in the aftermath of the PNG event. Even then, the fact that the California maps relied on scenarios of moderate onshore earthquakes triggering offshore landslides triggering tsunamis was controversial. Post the great Sumatran tsunami of 2004, regulator’s attention focused on the risk from tsunamis striking California from Alaska or Chile, and a new set of maps was produced that incorporated the risk from tsunami sources far away and near the coast.”
Below is the San Diego County Tsunami Inundation Map for Del Mar. In short, if you are near a red line, you could be underwater.