SAFRR Tsunami Scenario



Welcome to the California Geological Survey’s website for the USGS Science Applications for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Project.  The SAFRR project is a partnership between Federal, State, academic, and private organizations to develop a statewide tsunami scenario generated by a magnitude 9 earthquake off the southern coast of Alaska. This scenario is important as it represents one of the worst-case, distant source regions for tsunamis that impact California. 



Figure 1.  Boats sunk in Crescent City Harbor during the March 11, 2011 Tohoku-oki (Japan) tsunami (photo by Rick Wilson/CGS). 

The SAFRR scenario was developed to better understand tsunami impacts to California coastal communities.  The project includes evaluations of tsunami science such as tsunami source mechanics and tsunami deposits, as well as estimates of potential damage and the socio-economic and environmental impacts from such a scenario.  For example, it is estimated that at least 1/3 of all boats in coastal harbors and ports will experience damage or sink during this scenario.  Overall damage costs to coastal harbors and buildings could be $8-billion statewide.  

Download the SAFFR tsunami scenario report (USGS Open-File Report # 2013-1170 and CGS Special Report #229) as separate chapters or as a single PDF file below or from the USGS site at:


  • Chapter A: The SAFRR (Science Application for Risk Reduction) Tsunami Scenario—Executive Summary and Introduction, by Stephanie L. Ross, Lucile M. Jones, Kevin Miller, Keith A. Porter, Anne Wein, Rick I. Wilson, Bohyun Bahng, Aggeliki Barberopoulou, Jose C. Borrero, Deborah M. Brosnan, John T. Bwarie, Eric L. Geist, Laurie A. Johnson, Stephen H. Kirby, William R. Knight, Kate Long, Patrick Lynett, Carl E. Mortensen, Dmitry J. Nicolsky, Suzanne C. Perry, Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Charles R. Real, Kenneth Ryan, Elena Suleimani, Hong Kie Thio, Vasily V. Titov, Paul M. Whitmore, and Nathan J. Wood.
  • Chapter B:  Alaska Earthquake Source for the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario, by Stephen Kirby, David Scholl, Roland von Huene, and Ray Wells.
  • Chapter C: Geologic Evidence for Distant-Source Tsunamis from New Field Data in California, Wilson and others [not in volume for rollout].
  • Chapter D: Modeling for the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario—Generation, Propagation, Inundation, and Currents in Ports and Harbors, by the SAFRR Tsunami Modeling Working Group.
  • Chapter E: The SAFRR Tsunami Scenario—Physical Damage in California, by Keith Porter, William Byers, David Dykstra, Amy Lim, Patrick Lynett, Jamie Ratliff, Charles Scawthorn, Anne Wein, and Rick Wilson.
  • Chapter F: Potential Environmental and Environmental-Health Implications of the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario in California, by Geoffrey S. Plumlee, Suzette A. Morman, and Carma San Juan.
  • Chapter G: Impacts to Ecosystems, Natural Resources and Fisheries, Brosnan and others [not in volume for rollout].
  • Chapter H: Economic Impacts of the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario in California, by Anne Wein, Adam Rose, Ian Sue Wing, and Dan Wei.
  • Chapter I: Population Vulnerability and Evacuation Challenges in California for the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario, by Nathan Wood, Jamie Ratliff, Jeff Peters, and Kimberley Shoaf.
  • Chapter J: Emergency Management Response to a Warning-Level Alaska-Source Tsunami Impacting California, by Kevin M. Miller and Kate Long.
  • Chapter K: Communication Products for the Science Application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR) Tsunami Scenario, by Suzanne Perry. 
  • Chapter L: Tsunami Mitigation and Preparedness Activities in California, by Rick Wilson and Kevin Miller.
  • Chapter M: Public-Policy Issues Associated with the SAFRR Tsunami Scenario, by Laurie A. Johnson and Charles R. Real.

Click here to download the entire report CGS SR229 (pdf, 104 MB).

A GoogleEarth-compatible (KML) file of the SAFRR tsunami scenario inundation map is provided here: Download KML. You can also view the SAFRR inundation zones online using CGS's Google Maps interface.

To see other tsunami-related materials for California, visit the main California Tsunami Program webpage at: