Alaska Earthquake Center

Alaska has the greatest earthquake and tsunami potential in the entire United States. To help mitigate the risk these earthquakes and tsunamis pose to Alaskan coastal communities, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys participate in the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program.

The communities of coastal Alaska occupy one of the most seismically active regions in the world, where the Pacific Plate is subducting under the North American Plate. This subduction zone, the Alaska-Aleutian megathrust, creates high tsunami hazard for the adjacent coastal areas. Historic tsunamis that were generated by earthquakes in the Alaska-Aleutian subduction zone have resulted in widespread damage and loss of life along the Alaska Pacific coast and other exposed locations around the Pacific Ocean. Large seismic events occurring in the vicinity of the Alaska Peninsula, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska have a very high potential for generating both local and Pacific-wide tsunamis.

To help mitigate the risk these earthquakes and tsunamis pose to Alaskan coastal communities, the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys participate in the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program by evaluating and mapping potential inundation of selected parts of Alaska coastlines using numerical modeling of tsunami wave dynamics. The communities for inundation modeling are selected in coordination with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management with consideration to tsunami hazard exposure, location, infrastructure, availability of bathymetric and topographic data, and willingness of a community to incorporate the results in a comprehensive mitigation plan.

Institution University of Alaska Fairbanks
Country United States
Infrastructure type Research centre/institute
Disciplines Earth sciences
Language of operation English
Keywords tsunamiresearchearthquakeearth sciencealaska


Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Contact information

Contact Mike West

Find out more