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Geology

CWU Receives $194,000 for Earthquake and Tsunami Education

The spectacular beaches and headlands of the Pacific Northwest are home to tens of thousands of Washington and Oregon residents, and a vacation wonderland to millions of tourists every year. However, these dramatic landscapes are located in severe earthquake and tsunami zones. Will residents or visitors know what to do when—not if— a catastrophic, natural disaster occurs?

Central Washington University will participate in a $625,000, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) EarthScope program (www.earthscope.org) to train educators in the seaside communities of Washington and Oregon about the region’s earthquake and tsunami hazards. These educators will also teach others, including tourists and visitors to parks and museums, about these very real dangers. Oregon State University, the lead institution, will receive $315,000 of the grant funds while CWU will receive $194,000 and the University of Portland will receive $116,000.

“This project will continue and expand CWU’s already strong role in helping the Pacific Northwest be better prepared in the face of geohazards.” said Beth Pratt-Sitaula, principal investigator for CWU and geological sciences research associate. “If we work together now, our communities may not have to face the level of catastrophe seen in the aftermath of the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.”

The program, the Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program (CEETEP), will train 5th- to 12th-grade teachers, park and museum interpreters, and disaster preparedness educators on the science of coastal geologic hazards. They will teach the science of earthquakes and tsunamis to students and visitors along the coast, as well as ways to prepare communities for these inevitable natural disasters.

From 2013 to 2015, CEETEP will offer approximately eight workshops in Washington and Oregon coastal communities. Participants will learn about ongoing research on Cascadia plate tectonics, earthquakes and tsunamis, and about EarthScope’s role in investigating the geologic hazards in the region. Emergency management outreach leaders will train the participants on emergency preparedness actions. The project will also develop digital animations, visualizations, and videos on earthquake and tsunami science and preparedness that will be available to the public via the Internet.

For more information, contact Beth Pratt-Sitaula, at 509-899-3480, or e-mail psitaula@geology.cwu.edu

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, CWU Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu

March 26, 2013