What is a tsunami?

A tsunami is a series of large waves in a body of water caused by the displacement of water. A tsunami is not related to the tide, it is an event that is caused by its own factors. Tsunamis are associated with earthquakes because the shaking caused by earthquakes displaces water.

What is the potential tsunami hazard for Vancouver Island?

The hazard of tsunami is prevalent for all of Vancouver Island. Some areas on the Island have a higher potential for tsunami while others have less. Public Safety BC has divided BC into zones for notification of tsunami. The map of these zones can be found below.

What do I do if there is a tsunami notification for my area?

If you live in an area with evacuation plans it is important to be familiar with this plan. The BC Provincial government has a tsunami alert system that notifies you of the potential risk to your area. The below chart shows the types of warnings that you may receive. If you receive a tsunami warning it is important to move to high ground and follow the evacuation plan for your area. It is important to know that if you have received a tsunami alert it is not advisable to visit the beach to watch the waves.

What do I do after a tsunami has struck?

After a tsunami has landed it is important to stay on high ground and follow the direction of local emergency response officials. There is potential for flooding and unsafe structures following a tsunami.

Have tsunamis happened in the past?

Yes, tsunamis have happened in the past. The most recent one shook the Alberni Valley in 1964. The Chief Louis Nookmis stories also talk of the oral history of tsunamis in the Pachena Bay area. Within Chief Louis’ account there was a great earthquake between 1640 and 1740 which impacted Huu-ay-aht at Pachena Bay. For more information on the Chief Louis Nookmis account, of the tsunami see: Ludwin, R. S., Dennis, C., McMillan, L., & Clague, J. (2005). Dating the 1700 Cascadia Earthquake: Great Coastal Earthquakes in. Seismological Research Letters76(2), 141. Link