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Tsunamis Research on Coastal Communities Infrastructure
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Tsunamis Research on Coastal Communities/ Infrastructure (Image 2)

May 1, 2012
In this experiment, conducted at the O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory at Oregon State University, a tsunami wave breaks on a reef crest and begins to propagate over the flat reef, which has some initial standing water. Acoustic doppler velocimeters (ADVs), which are used to measure fluid velocity, can be seen on the right side of the flume. Wire resistance wave gauges, used to measure water depths, can be seen on the left side. Tsunamis pose a significant threat to coastal communities and infrastructure throughout the world. In many cases, horizontal evacuation is not possible due to very short warning times or the large number of people to be evacuated. It is essential that existing buildings--or new emergency centers--be evaluated or designed for vertical evacuation. However, there has been a lack of research on the effects of tsunami waves on coastal infrastructure such as buildings, bridges and harbor facilities, and design guidelines are lacking. Researchers conducted experiments to help better understand 1) how tsunamis propagate over shallow reefs and onto shore, and 2) the forces waves put on these on-shore structures when they hit them. The results from the experiments will help researchers provide guidance in designing tsunami-resilient structures. Credit: R. Riggs, University of Hawaii