Cannon Beach

This image shows some of the destruction (note destroyed bridge) in Cannon Beach following a tsunami that struck in 1964.

The Pacific Ocean constantly presents challenges for marine geologists, including the monitoring of coastal processes and the study of giant sea waves known as tsunamis. The massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Indian Ocean region in 2004 has heightened awareness that the Oregon Coast is prone to tsunamis from local and distant sources. Geologists act as detectives, gathering information that help them figure out what has happened in the past, and perhaps what the future might hold.


In this window you can learn how geologists pieced together clues about the last major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami in 1700 and about a tsunami that struck Oregon’s coast in 1964 following an earthquake in Alaska.


How are tsunami’s formed? And why are they called the “brass knuckles” of the ocean? Find out in Window 14!


Digging Deeper: For more information, visit these websites:


Tsunamis and coastal hazards in Oregon (DOGAMI)


Orphan Tsunami of 1700 (2005; US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1707)


Cannon Beach Tsunami Hazard Map and Information


Make sure you’re prepared! Put together a disaster preparedness kit:


Do you live in a Tsunami Hazard Zone? DOGAMI is publishing new tsunami hazard maps:


US Geological Survey page on tsunamis with background information and animations:


NOAA Pacific Tsunami Warning Center:

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