Dec. 30, 2004

Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

KU earthquake expert to give public lecture on cause, effect of tsunamis

LAWRENCE -- A University of Kansas geophysicist who is an expert in earthquakes will give a public lecture next week to explain the causes and behaviors of quake-spawned tsunamis and answer questions about the tidal waves that killed more than 100,000 people on Sunday, Dec. 26, in Asia.

Don Steeples, McGee distinguished professor of geophysics and vice provost for scholarly support, will present “Tsunami 101: Everything You Wanted to Know” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, at the Dole Institute of Politics on KU's West Campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Steeples said the devastating force of Sunday's tsunamis following a massive underwater earthquake has shocked people.

“ People are amazed that tsunamis travel 500 miles an hour in the deep ocean,” he said.

The lecture will include material drawn from the “Earthquakes and Disasters” introductory course he teaches in KU's geology department.
Steeples specializes in shallow high-resolution seismic imaging, an area in which he has practical experience in more than 20 states and several foreign countries.

The most destructive tsunami to hit the United States struck in 1946 when an earthquake in the Aleutians spawned a tidal wave that killed 159 people in Hilo, Hawaii. In 1964, 122 people died along the Alaska coastline as the result of a tsunami from a 9.2-magnitude earthquake. More than a dozen people drowned in Crescent City, Calif., a few hours later from the same tsunami.

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