Lake TahoeTsunami: the sleeping mega-disaster waiting to happen

June 27, 2011NEVADALake Tahoe may be one of the most beautiful serene lakes in the world but beneath the sparkling, placid blue water lurks a monster. Three major faults lie under the lake and if a series of them are activated by a large magnitude quake, landslides and lake-floor buckling could generate a tsunami with waves as high as 10 to 100 meters. Scientists think all three faults could be linked to one another deep inside the Earth, but it’s hard to test that theory until one becomes active. “The problem with the big faults is they are completely dormant between earthquakes,” said geologist Gordon Seitz of San Diego State University. “They are like sleeping giants, and then they suddenly awaken.” Seitz and a team of geologists and seismologists dug into the Incline Village fault in 2004 and discovered that it becomes active about every 10,000 to 15,000 years, and its last earthquake was about 500 years ago. “The Incline Village earthquakes are relatively rare,” Seitz said. Because the three faults are so close to one another, they could be linked deep underground and could set off one another like dominos, Seitz said. One piece of evidence that supports this theory is how much the fault line moved in the last earthquake, said Robert Karlin, a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, who studies earthquake activity. The fault moved about 13 feet 500 years ago, which is more than expected for a fault line only 10 miles long. –Standeyo
When most people in northern California think of “the big one” they imagine a 1906 type earthquake rocking San Francisco; but it turns out that the Lake Tahoe region is also capable of having large earthquakes and even deadlier tsunami’s. Seismologist Graham Kent said, “We’re heading right for the largest fault in the basin, the west Tahoe fault ruptures about every four to five thousand years. Its last rupture was 4500 years ago. So obviously there’s some concern because we’re at the end of that earthquake cycle.  Doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen tomorrow; but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it did.” At least three faults run underneath the lake: the Stateline, the Incline Village and the West Tahoe.  Now it looks like there is one more. For instance, Kent says we now know that that the faults sometimes erupt together, creating earthquakes as large as 7.07.5   and a quake that big would mean a potentially deadly tsunami up to thirty feet high. Graham Kent: “Since I also run the Nevada Seismological laboratory, I would be remiss to remind people that the biggest story in Japan is the fact that the number of people that didn’t die, and it’s because of preparedness. Ultimately, preparedness trumps everything else. If you know anything about Japan, they prepared for this day, even though the tsunami was larger than they thought, they prepared for that day, and you can see it in the YouTube videos – people by and large were on a move in a way that wouldn’t happen in the U.S. today.” So what should you do if your Tahoe summer vacation gets interrupted by an earthquake on Lake Tahoe? Kent recommends you duck and take cover waiting out the shaking and then, in a reasoned way get as high as you can. –Capital Public Radio
contribution by David
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Extinction Protocol Exclusive Editorial, High-risk potential hazard zone, Seismic tremors, Strange high tides & freak waves. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lake TahoeTsunami: the sleeping mega-disaster waiting to happen

  1. Wiseguy says:

    From the Weather Website, now, if the mainstream media start to talk about iminnent earthquakes, it means we are very close!!!


  2. Nick says:

    One of my favorite places… I couldn’t imagine what would happen if such a tsunami occurred. Depending on which direction the tsunami was aimed, Truckee and all those lower citys would be washed away. Let’s hope this giant doesn’t wake.


  3. Kim says:

    I never thought about a Tsunami in Lake Tahoe. That just gives me chills.


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