Japanese earthquake tsunami wave hits Emeryville, CA

[Video Link] Mark Demma says: "We saw this wave come ashore in Emeryville [near Oakland, CA] today. Remember it had to go through the Golden Gate first so they must have had a larger wave on the unprotected beach." (Via Telstar Logistics)


  1. It might actually be stronger there than at the coast after being funneled into a smaller space.

  2. Since it’s just going through a pinch point (narrows and then expands again), it should be at most as strong as whatever hits the coast. Given the shape of the Golden Gate and the bay beyond it, the Gate should basically be a point source that spreads across the whole bay – i.e., the energy going into the 2.5 mile stretch of channel leading into the Gate has to be shared across the whole Bay (or at least a large part of the north Bay), whereas the same amount of energy goes into a 2.5 mile stretch on Ocean Beach just south of the Gate, hence, stronger waves on the beach.

  3. Full sized, 100 foot tall tsunamis everywhere are offended at this ripple of water receiving the tsunami label.

    Proposals are being generated to create a grading system for waves initiated by an earthquake. The smallest waves will be called “pseudonamis” and the largest will be known as “sumonamis”. Normal, medium sized waves will continue to use “tsunami”.

    1. Pseudonami just entered my lexicon, although hopefully it’ll be awhile before I can break it out.

  4. How tall is that? It looks unimpressive, but I also have no experience determining the heights of waves from a distance.

  5. It’s clearly a tsunami on its last legs, thankfully. But considering that it traveled halfway around the world to get here it’s still a helluva big wave.

    1. So true. Also it’s not just one bump of a wave front – there’s a substantial amount of higher water behind that wave front. It’s like a step up in water height, not just a bump in the water surface.

  6. Well as long as we can relate what’s happening in Japan back to the the United States, that’s the main thing.

    1. If even a “little” wave like this gets people in the PNW to think about earthquakes, that’s good.

      Paleoseismic evidence shows that the Oregon/Washington coast gets smacked by a massive quake like this every once in a while. The last one was in 1700 and estimated at magnitude 9. Average time between them varies, but can be from 250 to 800 years. Quoting the wikipedia entry on the Cascadia subduction zone

      …some geologists predicting a 10 to 14% probability that the Cascadia Subduction Zone will produce an event of magnitude 9 or higher in the next 50 years, although the most recent studies suggest that this risk could be as high as 37%

      So when we have ours, Japan will see the “ripple” and we’ll be the one with the massive tsunami.

  7. The harbor in Santa Cruz, where I live, was heavily damaged. Locals lined up on the overlooking bridge with beers and bloody marys and watched the rampaging boats crash and sink. Quite the entertaining spectator sport.

  8. AMAZING! I work right there on Powell and thats the exact view from our office!1900 powell st – next to Chevys and the Hilton.

    That other guy is right – even being on its last legs – pretty impressive!

  9. how long did it take to cross from japan to sf? ~12hrs

    how long does an airplane take? ~6hrs?

    how fast does an airplane fly? ~600mph

    this thing was traveling at ~300mph for 12 hours.

    please correct my math but you get the idea.

    (from my wife)

  10. The tsunami took around 8 hours to travel the 3800 miles from Tokyo to Honolulu; that’s just under 500mph.

  11. in deep water the initial speed was 500 to 600 mph. The wave slows significantly as it hits shallower water. There are many variables that affected its propagation from the quake to the west coast.

    This video is fascinating.

    I have to admit I’m kinda surprised at the snarky comments. The video does beg for a few of them but they are not even quality snark. The amount of energy contained in moving water is huge and this camera view is from a good distance. I wouldn’t want to be near that wave as there is an enormous amount of water behind the wave front coming in.

  12. It’s the “Storm of the Century” whenever they so much as get a heavy rain over there. I’m not sure they’re psychologically prepared for the 8.9 Tsunami that almost ravaged their sand castles.

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