All posts by Moose on the Loose

Wireless Emergency Alerts

The article I chose speaks about the Wireless Emergency Alerts that are used across the country. Most notably in Hawaii when a false alert was sent out to cellphones across the state warning of incoming ballistic missiles. While this situation doesn’t deal with a geologic hazards, the WEA system has been used in natural disaster situations and has come under some scrutiny. With more technology and monitoring, knowledge of incoming hazards has increased, but how that knowledge is spread to the public is still lagging behind.

The WEA system was launched in 2012 to modernize the countries approach of notifying the public. Nearly every person has a cellphone and is generally in reach of it for the majority of the day, so it makes sense to include cellphones with the TV, radio and air sirens already used to alter citizens of an incoming hazard.

However, human error can occur, just like Hawaii when the alert was sent out that ballistic missiles where in coming. Turns out that the state of Hawaii had no safe guards in place for the WEA system. The articles points out that if this system is to be used in the future, safe guards and updated rules need to be put in place.

Another key point of updating the WEA, is so that mass panic is not caused when alerts go out. Officials from Harris County, Texas expressed their frustration over how they could not pinpoint alerts to residents during Hurricane Harvey without altering a broader area then what was needed.

To me this article stresses the importance of preparedness on the small and large scale. Local and national governments and agencies should know how to use WEA system, but also the limitation  of the system before a real hazards occurs.


Article here:


Human Impact Week 3

While researching for this assignment I found four different resources for the megatsunami at Lituya Bay.

  1. Science of Tsunami Hazards,
  2. Surviving the Biggest Wave Ever,
  3. “Wildest Alaska: Journeys of Great Peril in Lituya Bay”, By Philip Fradkin
  4.  “Mrs. Jeanice Welsh Killed in Yakutat Earthquake,”

The resource I found the most interesting was the Science of Tsunami Hazards, because of the exurb from Bill Swanson.

“The glacier had risen in the air and moved forward so it was in sight. It must have risen several hundred feet. I don’t mean it was just hanging in the air. It seems to be solid, but it was jumping and shaking like crazy. Big chunks of ice were falling off the face of it and down into the water. That was six miles away and they still looked like big chunks. They came off the glacier like a big load of rocks spilling out of a dump truck. That went on for a little while – its hard to tell just how long – and then suddenly the glacier dropped back out of sight and there was a big wall of water going over the point.”

Swanson’s story has never been proven that the glacier rose several hundred feet into the air,  but he told the story over and over to people though his years. Perhaps there was another natural phenomenon that occurred that we don’t know about or maybe Swanson was dazed by a hard day of fishing. Either way I don’t think his first hand experience in the megatsunami should be written off.

Week 2 Assignment 3

Mapping of the area started when French explore La Perouse explored and mapped the Bay in 1786. Since 1786 until the tsunami event of 1958, few maps of the area were made. The maps that I did find were mostly simple and showed  where the rockslide occurred and the height of the wave damage. The most useful map I found is from a 1960 report by Don J. Miller for the Geological Survey. The topographic map shows the setting and effects after the 1985 tsunami, with the trimlines of the upper limit of destruction, the rockslide, and even where the three fishing boats where located during the event. I find the map useful now looking back at the event, but if I lived in the area, I would not think the area hazardous based on similar maps.

Week 2 – Game

One thing the game helped put into prospective about tsunamis was education. The more education and safety signage invested in the community the more lives saved. Now of course this isn’t happening in every community where tsunamis occur, but whole countries like Chile are putting in an effort to educate it’s citizen about what do in an emergency.

With a click of the mouse, I was able to educate the school or hospital about emergency procedures, which in real life would not happen. That part was too easy and not very realistic in my mind.


Unit 6 – Week 1

The 1958 Lituya Bay tsunami that occurred in Southeast Alaska into a narrow inlet. The tsunami was triggered on July 9th from an earthquake that took place on the transform Fairweather Fault. The tsunami occurred on the transform boundary of the Fairweather Fault, which is part of the Queen Charlotte – Fairweather Fault that marks the boundary between the North American and Pacific Plates.

An earthquake from this fault line was a registered 8.3 quake that triggered a tremendous landslide into the inlet. The landslide shook over 30 million cubic meters of rock and debris from several hundred meters above the inlet down, causing the megatsunami. The waves reached heights of 502 meters (1,710 ft.) causing damage to the landscape that can still be seen today.

The most interesting thing I learned so far is that this event is the largest recorded megatsunami on record, and that this area is likely to have more event just like in the future.

Tornadoes & Tsunamis

I chose the Tri-State Tornado that occurred on March 18th, 1925, in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. This tornado was the deadliest in US history causing 695 fatalities. I picked a tornado-related event because even though I grew up on the edge of tornado ally in Saint Paul, Minnesota, I don’t know the science behind what causes them.

  1. I want to learn more about tornado science, and what sets apart a regular storm and a storm that has tornadoes.
  2. I want to have a deeper understanding of the categorizing system and why some rankings are disputed after the event.
  3. I would like to learn more about detection and warning systems for tornadoes and how it has changed since the Tri-State Tornado of 1925.

My second topic is tsunamis and the 1958 Lituya Bay tsunami that occurred in Southeast Alaska on a narrow inlet. I chose this event because tsunamis have always interested me and I have a very limited knowledge of them.

  1. What is the difference between a tsunami and a megatsunami as the 1958 event has been categorized as?
  2. Are there areas prone to more destructive tsunamis than others, and are they mapped?
  3. What and why are there conflicting analysis for the cause of the tsunami.

Unit 3

The water cycle touches every part of our world. When this cycle is disturbed the impacts are costly and not easily reversed. This resource I found breaks down the country into regions where you can learn the impacts that directly effect that region and the projected changes.

-Events will increase/intensify. Heavy precipitation events have increased within the nation and are projected to increase all over the states.

-The timing of peak river levels has changed. 

-Soil moisture plays a major role in the water cycle and is projected to decline.

Hazards of Plate Tectonics

With the recent earthquake and tsunami threat for Kodiak Island and the coast of Alaska, I found the NOAA US Tsunami Warning System website. Within the website, there is abundant information about the causes, characteristics, and detection of tsunamis, along with safety and current research.

  1. According to the Global Historical Tsunami Database, tsunamis that cause damage or deaths near their source occur approximately twice per year. Tsunamis that cause damage or deaths on distant shores (more than 1,000 kilometers, 620 miles, away) occur about twice per decade. The website has a list of recent tsunamis dating back to 1996. For 2017 only 4 were recorded, and in 2016, 7 tsunamis.
  2. There are two types of tsunamis, local or distant. The type depends on the location of the source and where it may strike land.
  3. There are weather-generated tsunamis! Similar to earthquake generated tsunamis, but they are caused by air pressure disturbances often associated with fast moving weather systems.

Short video on safety:


Hi class my name is Hanna, I currently work for the National Park Service as a park guide in Fairbanks. I came to Alaska for a summer internship and ended up staying and have been here for almost four years. I’m originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota and went from cold to colder. Once I decided to stay in Fairbanks, I set myself on finishing my Earth Science degree at UAF. I’m taking this course to satisfy a requirement in my program, but also for my own enjoyment.

I find natural hazards fascinating, and growing up in the Midwest and in Saint Paul, I was often far away from natural disasters. I’ve experienced minimal hazards first hand. Occasionally the Mississippi River would flood, but nothing extreme and I have sat in my house while winter storms passed over the city.

Tornadoes and tsunamis are the two hazards I find most interesting. Tornadoes, because of how unpredictable the events can be and the sear amount of damage that can be inflected in a span of minutes. For tsunamis, because they utterly terrify me. After watching The Impossible, a movie about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, I’ve been intrigued by them. How do you survive a tsunami? How do you mitigate the loss of life and property? How do you warn residents of an approaching tsunami? How?! Also knowing that tsunamis don’t just happen in far of places but as well as here in Alaska has me wanting more information.