, Salem, MA

The Nation

March 14, 2011

Calif. port town attracts tsunamis



That bouncing amplification is what caught Dustin Weber at the mouth of the Klamath River. He and two friends thought the tsunami was over after the first surge, his family said. He was caught in a bigger surge that hit a couple hours later. His body has not been found.

The word tsunami is Japanese for harbor wave, and many times the worst physical damage comes once the waves enter the confines of a harbor, said Costas Synolakis, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Tsunami Research Center at the University of Southern California.

After the 1964 tsunami, Crescent City built a rectangular boat basin. It is great at sheltering boats from stormy seas, but actually makes the effects of the tsunami worse, Dengler said.

"It looks like what happens if you hit a drum," Synolakis said. "You create waves with just one hit to it, but the drum keeps vibrating. What that means is it takes a couple waves to come in. Then you set up these back and forth waves inside the harbor that end up reinforcing each other. Crescent City took about 36 hours for the oscillation to die down."

Another set of oscillations is created by the waves bouncing off the Continental Shelf, he said.

Synolakis hopes that if scientists can understanding the oscillations better, they can design harbors so the water bounces around less.

"What we are realizing in California is if we have tsunamis coming from far away, we are not going to see huge waves of the size we saw in Japan," he said. "But we are going to have these very strong currents that essentially destroy the ports."

"Misty Bob" Page saw the effects firsthand on Friday. Not wanting to spend the day on the ocean riding out the tsunami, he kept his boat, Misty Anne, in the boat basin. The tsunami roared in, one wave after another. His boat was torn loose, and flung about. He and a friend fended off other boats. They managed to duck into another slip and tie up, riding out surges that continued through the night.

"By the time I decided I'd better leave, there was this big wall of water coming in and I couldn't," Page said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
The Nation

AP Video
NYC Man's Chokehold Death Ruled a Homicide Congress Approves Iron Dome Funding Raw: House OKs Bill for Border Crisis Funds Rare Whale Fossil Pulled From Calif. Backyard Denver Celebrates Pot at the County Fair Escaping Email: Inspired Vision or Pipe Dream? Obama Calls on Hamas to Release Israeli Soldier Hispanic Caucus Slams GOP for Border Bill Shifts Obama: GOP Not Even Trying to Solve Immigration Emory Prepares to Treat American Ebola Cases US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Russell Simmons, LL Cool J Visit Youth at Jail Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"