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Simulation shows how fast tsunamis could move through Puget Sound after ‘The Big One’

A new series of simulations released by the state Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday show what parts of the coastline would be hit by tsunamis following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the Washington coast.

Most of Puget Sound’s shoreline, including Tacoma, would be hit by a series of tsunamis as water sloshes around in the Pacific like waves in a bathtub.

A 10-foot-tall wave or higher would hit Tacoma and the surrounding area nearly three hours after a hypothetical magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the simulation shows. Another smaller wave would hit an hour later and then another an hour after that.

Waves not as tall would reach Thurston County’s shoreline about five hours after the quake.

The simulation shows 10-foot-tall waves or higher moving through Hood Canal.

The coast would be the first hit, about 20 minutes after the quake. Then waves would travel down the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into the sound.

The simulation shows the Long Beach Peninsula getting hit by at least seven waves over five hours. In between those hits, wave troughs would essentially drain the shoreline before filling back up again.

Data for the simulations came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. You can watch the simulation video at https://www.dnr.wa.gov/programs-and-services/geology/geologic-hazards/Tsunamis#tsunami-simulation-videos

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