Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Employment in Oregon’s Tsunami Inundation Zones

A worst-case scenario shows that nearly 37,000 jobs along Oregon’s coast lie within the boundary of a tsunami inundation zone associated with a 9.1 magnitude or greater earthquake.

Many factors determine tsunami wave heights, including how much of the fault ruptures, how much ground upheaval or displacement occurs, the duration of the ground shaking, how high the tide is during an earthquake, among others. 

In addition, coastal geography varies greatly in Oregon. Some communities sit atop bluffs, relatively safer and better positioned to escape an incoming wall of water. Others face the reality that there is little elevation gain between the normally placid Pacific and hundreds of yards if not miles inland.

In the worst-case scenarios, all Oregon counties adjacent to the ocean would be impacted. While Lane and Douglas counties have little of their total employment in this zone (0.5% and 2.4%, respectively), coastal communities within those counties are at risk. The remaining coastal counties have between 32 percent and 47 percent of their total payroll employment within the borders of the worst-case tsunami inundation zones. 

Shown in the graph below, in a worst-case scenario (referred to as "CZXXL"), almost 80 percent of Clatsop County's employment lies in the tsunami inundation zone.

For a much more in-depth look at how different scenarios could affect employment in Oregon, read Erik Knoder and Guy Tauer's full article: Employment in Oregon's Tsunami Inundation Zones

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