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Lawson Lecture Series

2014 Lawson Lecture:

A California view of the 1964 Alaska earthquake: Lessons learned, forgotten, and relearned about reducing tsunami vulnerability

Speaker: Dr. Lori Dengler, Humboldt State University
Date and Time: Wednesday April 16th, 5:30-6:30 PM
Location: Sutardja Dai Hall (CITRIS), Banatao Auditorium, UC Berkeley
Refreshments will be served in the Atrium following the lecture.

At the time of the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake, U.S. tsunami hazard was considered a Hawaiian problem. On March 27, 1964, it took over three hours for a tsunami alert bulletin to reach California and Crescent City, California's northernmost coastal city, did not begin notifying vulnerable residents until a half hour before surges arrived. In Crescent City, the tsunami killed ten, flooded 29 blocks, damaged or destroyed nearly 100 structures and led to permanently altering the downtown area. The tsunami also caused damage in other California coastal areas, killing a person in Bodega Bay and Los Angeles, destroying boats and docks in San Francisco Bay and wreaking havoc on many areas of the coast. This talk recounts the events of 1964 from a California and Crescent City perspective, traces mitigation measures taken after the the tsunami, and examines how California's tsunami hazard and tsunami mitigation efforts have changed in the past five decades.

About Lori Dengler:
Lori Dengler, Professor of Geology, Humboldt State University, is an expert in earthquake and tsunami hazards and hazard mitigation. She received her Bachelor's, Master's and PhD degree in geophysics from the University of California at Berkeley. She was a member of the team that developed the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program and the author of the first Strategic Implementation Plan for Mitigation Projects for the tsunami program. She has participated in post earthquaker/tsunami survey teams to Papua New Guinea, Southern Peru, Indonesia, Northern California, Samoa, Chile, and Japan and is on the Steering Committee for California's Earthquake Country Alliance and the scientific advisor for the state's tsunami program and the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group. Lori received NOAA's 2001 Richard Hagemeyer Tsunami Mitigation Award, Humboldt State University's Scholar of the Year (2008), and the Alquist medal for promoting earthquake safety in the State of California (2009).

Announcement/Poster (pdf)

Previous Lawson lectures:

Date Title Speaker Links
4/08/2013 "Warning California: Science and Technology to Reduce the Growing Earthquake Threat" Dr. Richard Allen, BSL
4/25/2012 "Earthquakes from the Top to the Bottom of the Magnitude Scale: Insights into Earthquake Physics from EarthScope" Dr. William Ellsworth, USGS
5/04/2011 "Two Earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand: Lessons for California " Dr. Mary Comerio, UC Berkeley
4/28/2010 "The Haiti Earthquake of 12 January 2010: A Geologic Perspective" Dr. Carol Prentice, USGS
4/14/2009 "Building Resilient Communities: Fresh Challenges for Earthquake Professionals" Chris Poland, Degenkolb Engineers
4/09/2008 "A tectonic time bomb in our backyard: Earthquake potential of the Hayward fault" Dr. Roland Burgmann, UC Berkeley
4/24/2007 "The Parkfield 2004 Earthquake: Lessons From the Best-Recorded Quake in History" Dr. Andy Michael, USGS Menlo Park
4/15/2006 Designing For Disaster: The UC Berkeley Seismic Retrofit Program Dr. Mary Comerio, UC Berkeley
4/18/2005 The 2004 Giant Earthquake and Tsunami: Observations and Lessons Learned Dr. Barbara Romanowicz, UC Berkeley
4/21/2004 Earthquake Conversations Dr. Ross Stein, USGS
4/22/2003 New Earthquake Probabilities for the San Francisco Bay Area: What you should know Dr. David Schwartz, USGS