Tidal-Wave Warning System Proposed

FEDERAL scientists want to place seven warning stations on the floor of the Pacific Ocean to transmit the movement of tidal waves caused by earthquakes off the northwestern United States.

The first $100,000 station could be operating in 1995, with the rest operating by 2000, said Edward Bernard of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It would cost $250,000 a year to maintain the stations, he said.

NOAA scientists say a large earthquake in what is known as the Cascadia subduction zone, a 1,000-mile-long stretch where sections of the Earth's crust collide off the coasts of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northernmost California could send tidal waves into Eureka and Crescent City, Calif.

Twelve-foot waves hit Crescent City in northwest California several hours after the Alaska earthquake of March 27, 1964, killing 10 people, injuring 35, and destroying 150 buildings. The Alaska quake measured 8.4 on the Richter scale.

The NOAA stations would be put on the ocean floor some two miles down. Each station would send a signal to a surface buoy indicating the size, speed, and direction of seismic sea waves.

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