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Tsunamis in California

Tsunami Basics


Tsunamis most commonly originate from large earthquakes along subduction zones around the rim of the Pacific Ocean.


A tsunami is a series of waves or surges that can have enough force to destroy buildings and harm people. Tsunamis can last for hours, and the first wave is typically not the largest.


Tsunamis are typically generated by earthquakes along subduction zones and other submarine faults where significant vertical movement of the sea floor results in a rise of the ocean surface.

Know What to Do


If you are at the beach or near the coast and you FEEL strong earthquake shaking that lasts for more than 20 seconds, or ....

See or Hear:

.... If you SEE the tide go out or a large frothy wave coming ashore, or you HEAR a roaring wave coming or a warning/siren sounding, you should ....


.... RESPOND by moving quickly to high ground or far enough inland to get away from a potential tsunami.

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