PerspectiveGeophysics

Minimizing Caribbean Tsunami Risk

Science  30 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6149, pp. 966-968
DOI: 10.1126/science.1238943

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Summary

In the past 500 years, more than 75 tsunamis have been documented in the Caribbean and adjacent regions. Since 1842, 3446 people are reported to have perished to these killer waves. The tsunami generated by the 2010 Haiti earthquake claimed several lives, but the most recent devastating events were the 1946 tsunamis of the Dominican Republic, with at least 1800 victims (1). Since then, there has been an explosive increase in residents, visitors, infrastructure, and economic activity along Caribbean coastlines, increasing the potential for human and economic loss. On any day, more than 500,000 people could be in harm's way along the beaches (2), with hundreds of thousands more working and living in the tsunami hazard zones.