Lab and Lunch: Preparing for a Tsunami

Thursday, March 27, 2014 • 12:00–1:00 p.m.
Exploratorium, Pier 15, Bay Observatory Gallery

Free; RSVP required for lunch*
All Ages

The second largest earthquake ever recorded—a magnitude 9.2—struck Alaska fifty years ago this March, touching off multiple deadly tsunamis that killed 119 people in Alaska, Oregon, and northern California. In the wake of the disaster, the U.S. government established a warning system to help detect tsunamis and warn those along the coasts who might be at risk. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency responsible for tsunami forecasts and warnings, has an ongoing partnership with the Exploratorium.

Join us to hear experts discuss the science behind tsunamis, the damage these giant wave events can cause, and the technology that can tell us when the next one is on its way.

Cindy Pridmore is an engineering geologist with the California Geological Survey’s tsunami hazard mapping program. She’ll talk about the 1964 Alaska earthquake and tsunami, as well as which kinds of earthquakes generate tsunamis, and the dynamics of a tsunami wave.

Larry Smith, a meteorologist from NOAA, will discuss how the agency detects and forecasts tsunamis, generating watches and warnings for coastal residents. He’ll also use maps to show how far inland tsunami waves can reach, and discuss what to do when a tsunami is approaching. 


About Lab and Lunch
The Exploratorium’s Lab and Lunch is a free lunchtime series for adults that explores new work and collaborations between visiting scientists, educators, or artists and Exploratorium staff. Spend your lunch break in the Exploratorium’s beautiful Bay Observatory Gallery, get a free* catered lunch, learn about new research and work-in progress, see demos, and meet visiting scientists. The series is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

*There is no cost to attend the Lab and Lunch program, but you must RSVP in order to get a lunch. A limited number of lunches are available. To RSVP, call 415-528-4646. If you also wish to visit the Exploratorium, you must purchase a general admission ticket.

Photo: 1964 Alaska earthquake and tsunami damage. NOAA Central Library