In my neighborhood we are lucky that there are some good hills right beside some of the beaches. If you feel a strong earthquake and you get moving straight away - you should make higher ground in time. But this is by no means true for all the beaches in So. California.

In addition to the tsunami problem, there is also a "big wave" problem for some beaches. Some of our Californua coastline has deep submarine canyons that come very close to the shore. The bottoms of those canyons are covered in deep mud. That mud can cascade downwards into the canyon during a quake - triggering a strong water response at the surface. That could generate some very big local waves - enough to swamp the beach. Those waves could arrive almost immediately after the quake. But this problem only occurs at selected beaches ... it's not a general situation.

Chernobyl: Your objections above are right. i was wrong to use that analogy. Chernobyl had a different kind of reactor. A Russian physicist pointed that out on TV today. Still - I am concerned by the latest photo's from the Japanese power plant. Take a look at the photo shown on the other thread talking about this subject. There's a pretty big fire burning there - it seems to be too big to match the explanation given by the Government.

Arney: Unfortunately, our worst fears are confirmed. I saw an eye witness report from Sendai this morning, from a Japanese guy who drives a big rig. His truck was washed over by the tidal wave, but the rig was heavy and it didn't get dislodged. He said that other families driving in cars on the same road were washed away by the big wave. Very sad.

other Pete