Awareness & Education

Local Warning

International Workshop ON “Local Tsunami Warning and Mitigation”, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia, September 10 - 15, 2002

In response to the recommendations of the XVIII Session of UNESCO/IOC/ICG/ITSU, the International Workshop “Local Tsunami Warning and Mitigation” was jointly organized by the IUGG Tsunami Commission and the International Co-ordination Group for the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific of the UNESCO in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia, on September 10 - 15, 2002. P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the Kamchatka Seismological Department of Geophysical Service of the RAS led the Workshop as local organizers.

Destructive effects of many tsunamis are confined to the areas within one hour of the propagation time (that is, within several hundred km of their source location). These tsunamis are classified as local, as opposed to the regional and the Pacific-wide tsunamis whose destructive effects can be exposed well outside (up to 10 thousand km) their area of origin. In all the main Pacific tsunamigenic regions, the majority of tsunami-related casualties and property damage come from local tsunamis. A very short travel time increases a local tsunami hazard. It is therefore an important challenge for the research community and decision-makers to identify the ways for reducing losses of lives and property damage from the local tsunamis. The main purpose of the Workshop was to consider the state-of-the-art of the local tsunami problem and to discuss fundamental and applied studies directed at the reduction of a local tsunami hazard.

As one of the most active seismic- and tsunami-prone areas in the Pacific, having a long history of historical and paleo-tsunamis and complemented by interesting environmental features, Kamchatka was an appropriate place for the international tsunami community members to discuss the local tsunami problem. Additionally, the workshop was held in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1952 Great Kamchatka Earthquake and Tsunami. The magnitude 8.3 Kamchatka earthquake of November 4, 1952 generated a catastrophic tsunami that killed more than two thousand people in the Northern Kuriles. The town of Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island) was completely destroyed. This catastrophic event initiated the scientific study of the tsunami problem in Russia and resulted in the creation of the Soviet Far East Tsunami Warning System at the end of the 50s.

Over 100 scientists (42 registered participants) from 12 countries (Bulgaria, Canada, France, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, Turkey, the USA) attended the Workshop. The Workshop programme and the submitted abstracts can be found at

The oral presentations made at the Workshop were grouped in the following topics:

  • 1952 Kamchatka Earthquake and Tsunami,
  • Historical Catalogues and Databases,
  • Seismo-tectonics of Tsunami,
  • Numerical and Analytical Models of Local Tsunami Behavior,
  • Mitigation and Risk Assessment,
  • Tsunami Geology and Paleotsunamis,
  • Tsunami Measurement and Data Analysis,
  • Hydroacoustic Methods in Tsunami Research.

A special student session, that was unanimously recognized as of a high scientific quality by all the workshop participants, was included in the Workshop programme to facilitate the participation of young scientists.

 The Workshop was followed by a one-day geological field excursion led by Dr.J.Bourgeois and Dr.T.Pinegina. Participants were familiarized with paleotsunami methodology and field practice. At several coastal locations on the Khalatyrskiy Beach, 30 km north-east of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the geological traces of the 1737 and 1952 Kamchatka tsunamis were demonstrated.

Analysis of the state-of-the-art of the local tsunami problem made by the Workshop participants testifies to the potential of a significant improvement for the forecast methodology and hazard reduction. Based on the presented papers and follow-up discussions, the Workshop has made the following recommendations as an approach to realizing this potential.

Comprehensive historical databases are one of the key elements of the local tsunami risk assessment methodology. The existing tsunami databases supported by the Novosibirsk Tsunami Laboratory (NTL) and the NGDC/NOAA can serve as a good basis for this work. Study of paleotsunami deposits can provide a significant addition for historical database that can considerably extend its time coverage. While nearly all historical events included in the published national, regional and Pacific-wide catalogs have already been included in the databases, a wealth of less-known data still exists locally. A lot of work is still needed for their search, parameterization and including in the databases.

People Education
Local tsunami has a very short travel time, therefore conventional tsunami warning procedures might be ineffective. People living in vulnerable coastal areas should be well-informed about a potential tsunamis hazard. Everybody should know how to act in the case of a strong earthquake or tsunami warning. The Workshop strongly recommends to conduct public educational programs (involving mass media), to publish informational booklets, etc.

Paleotsunami research
A destructive tsunami is rather a rare event at a given coastal location. To estimate the existing tsunami hazard properly, a long-term observations are required. Geologic records of pre-historical tsunamis can extend the historical and instrumental records to the recent past. They are also necessary in filling historic records gaps, or in filling geographic gaps for known tsunamis. Paleotsunami data in conjunction with numerical modeling can be useful for the tsunami sources identification.

Hydroacoustic methods in the local tsunami warning problem
Monitoring of the hydroacoustic signals emitted by the source area of impending underwater earthquake allows localization of this area for some time (from several to tens of minutes) prior to the main shock. This result testifies to the potential perspectives of hydroacoustic methods for the short-time prediction of local tsunamis.

Tsunami generation mechanism
Several papers presented at the Workshop have clearly demonstrated that the submarine slumping can play an important role in tsunami generation; nonlinear phenomena in a tsunami source can increase the tsunami amplitude. The Workshop recommends further investigation of the tsunami generation mechanism. The investigation should be directed at the development of the software tools for the calculation of the initial conditions in the generation area allowing the submarine slumping and non-linear phenomena for their further use in the tsunami propagation models.

High resolution bathymetry and topographic data
Quite often numerical modeling is the only way to determine the potential run-ups and to delineate the inundation area from local tsunamis. For accurate modeling, detailed bathymetric and topographic data are required. The Workshop recommends to continue efforts for collecting high-resolution bathymetric and topographic data for the tsunami-prone areas available in different centers and institutions in a single web-assessed database.

Preparation of collected volume “The 1952 Great Kamchatka Tsunami"
The 1952 Great Kamchatka Tsunami was one of the most destructive tsunamis in the last century. It had a destructive effect in the South Kamchatka and North Kuriles and was widely observed all over the Pacific. The publication of a special volume of papers containing all the earlier known and new materials related to this event is of great importance for understanding of local tsunami behavior, generation and propagation mechanism of trans-Pacific tsunamis and for improvement of their warning and hazard mitigation.

Kamchatka Tsunami (Warning) Center
The Workshop recommends setting up in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatky the “Kamchatka Tsunami (Warning) Center” (KTC). Being one of the most active seismic- and tsunami-prone areas in the Pacific, Kamchatka is an appropriate place for a scientific center to coordinate the tsunami research, to carry out educational activity, etc. Using the scientific potential of the research centers and institutions located in the Far-East region, the TCW could serve as Center of Excellence for the development of new methods of tsunami prediction and mitigation and their implementation in the existing Tsunami Warning System.

The participants wish to thank members of the Local Organizing Committee for the excellent organization of the Workshop. Special thanks go to Mrs.Olga Yakovenko, whose tremendous efforts made at every stage of the Workshop arrangement are highly appreciated. The Organizing Committee is also grateful to Physics Faculty of M.V.Lomonosov Moscow State University for supporting the Workshop web-site.

The financial support for the Workshop obtained from the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and International Ocean Institute is greatly appreciated.


Dr. Alberto Armigliato
University of Bologna, Dept. of Physics, Sector of Geophysics

Prof. Joanne Bourgeois
Dept. Geol. Sci., Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Dr. Josef Cherniawsky
Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, B.C. Canada

Prof. Jong Yul Chung
Research Institute Oceanography, Seoul National University
Republic of Korea

Ms. Ursula Cochran
Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences
New Zealand

Dr. Igor Didenkulov
Institute of Applied Physics, RAS, Nizgny Novgorod, Russia

Ms. Irina Didenkulova
Nizhny Novgorod State University

Dr. Gerard Fryer
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Dr. Evgenii Gordeev
Kamchatkan Seismological Department, Geophysical Service, RAS

Dr. Viacheslav Gusiakov
Institute of Computational Mathematics and Mathematical Geophysics SD

Ms. Irina Hvatova
P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, RAS

Mr. Shusaku Inoue
Tokyo Institute of Technology

Dr. Vladimir Ivanov
Institute of Marine Geology & Geophysics, Far Eastern Division of Academy

Dr. Victor Kaistrenko
Institute of Marine Geology & Geophysics, Russian Academy of Sciences

Prof. Yakov Karlik
Central Research Institute "MORPHYSPRIBOR", Sankt Peterbourg, Russia

Mr. Sergey Kolesov
Physics Faculty of M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Dr. Evgeny Kulikov
P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, RAS

Prof. Boris Levin
P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, RAS

Dr. Alexandr Lutikov
Institute of the Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences

Prof. Andrei Marchuk
Institute of Computational Mathematics and Mathematical Geophysics,

Dr. Hiroyuki Matsumoto
Japan Marine Science and Technology Center

Dr. Charles McCreery
Richard H. Hagemeyer Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

Mr. Victor Morozov
P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, RAS

Dr. Futoshi Nanayama
Active Fault Research Center, National Institute for Advanced Industrial

Dr. Mikhail Nosov
Physics Faculty of M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Mr. Yury Permikin
Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics Far East branch of Russian

Dr. Tatiana Pinegina

Dr. Alexander Poplavsky
Institute of Marine Gelogy and Geophysics Far East Branch of Russian

Dr. Nanang Puspito
Dept. Geophysics and Meteorology, Institute of Technology Bandung (ITB)

Ms. Papa Ramino
Accompanying person

Dr. Boyko Ranguelov
Geophysical Institute - Bulg. Academy of Sciences

Mr. Dominique Reymond
French Polynesia

Dr. Vadim Saltykov
Kamchatkan Seismological Department, Geophysical Service, RAS

Dr. Elena Sassorova
P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, RAS

Dr. Francois Schindele
Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, Departement Analyse Surveillance

Mr. Sergey Skachko
Physics Faculty of M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Dr. Vasily Titov

Prof. Yoshinobu Tsuji
Earthquake Research Institute, University Tokyo

Dr. Alexander Vikulin
Kamchatkan Seismological Department, Geophysical Service, RAS

Dr. Philip Watts
Applied Fluids Engineering, Inc.

Prof. Ahmet Cevdet Yalciner
Middle East Technical University, Civil Engineering Department, Ocean

Mr. Igor Zyskin
Central desing office of hydrometeorological instrument production



Click here for more information and documents.

G. Pangilun, Indonesia, Nov. 2006.
Community Drill carried out in G. Pangilun,  Indonesia in November 2005.

The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Pacific Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/PTWS), will be conducting its first end-to-end Pacific-wide tsunami exercise for the Pacific Ocean on 16-17 May 2006. Regional and national tsunami warning systems in the Pacific and globally must maintain a high level of readiness so as to be able to efficiently and effectively act to provide for the public’s safety during fast-onset and rapidly-evolving natural disasters such as tsunamis. To maintain this high state of operational readiness, and especially for infrequent events such as tsunamis, emergency agencies should regularly practice their response procedures to ensure that vital communication links work seamlessly and that agencies and response personnel know the roles that they will need to play during an actual event.

The 2004 Indonesia earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami brought to the world’s attention the urgent need to be better prepared. Accordingly, the intent of the Pacific-wide exercise is to motivate countries to review and test their response procedures, and for the PTWS system to evaluate its operations with the goal of identifying weak areas where improvement is needed to increase overall preparedness. A report on the exercise will be made by the ICG/PTWS Chair to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Executive Council in late June 2006.

The exercise will place all Pacific Basin countries into a Tsunami Warning that will require countries to practice its emergency response decision-making for the arrival of a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami upon its shores, and depending on the country, be conducted to the step just prior to public notification. The exercise will take focus on two components of the warning system: the evaluation and issuance of the warning message by tsunami warning centres, and the national and/or local response and warning dissemination mechanism once a warning is received by emergency authorities.

G. Pangilun, Indonesia, Nov. 2005
Community Drill carried out in G. Pangilun,  Indonesia in November 2005.

During the first stage, the scenario of a destructive tsunami crossing the Pacific will be simulated through communication of messages by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) and other warning centres, including sub-regional centres such as the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center (WC/ATWC) and the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Northwest Pacific Tsunami Advisory Center (NWPTAC). Tsunami bulletins will be transmitted from the tsunami warning centres to 7x24 Tsunami Focal Points and/or designated national emergency authorities responsible for tsunami emergency response. A compressed exercise time schedule is planned in order to complete the drill in a timely manner that will allow maximum engagement by all stakeholders.

In the second stage, decision-making and notification down to the last stage before public notification should be simulated. This stage should be conducted the same day or within the following days and include notifications to the emergency management authorities of a single coastal community so as to sufficiently practice the end-to-end process. Countries plan to taken special care to ensure that the public is not inadvertently alarmed.

All countries of the Pacific are being strongly encouraged to participate in the exercise. The exercise is being considered the first drill of what will be regular schedule of future exercises. A task team chaired by Australia and comprised of representatives from the PTWC, WC/ATWC, NWPTAC, ITIC, Australia, Chile, France, Fiji, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Samoa, and the USA, is coordinating ‘Exercise Pacific Wave 06’. For more information, please contact contact Mr. Mark Sullivan, Emergency Management Australia,, Telephone: +61 262 564 693, or Mr. Brian Yanagi, ITIC,, +1 808 532 6422.


find us on facebook

Featured Resources

banner materiales educativos

Regional Disaster Information Center (Latin America & the Caribbean)

A database of Spanish language materials focused on tsunami preparedness.
dsc00149 thumbnail

Post-Tsunami Survey:
El Salvador Summary Video

Learn the basics of a post-tsunami survey.

TsunamiTeacher USA
Tsunami Basics

Also on YouTube youtube_logo
(w/closed captioning)

Learn the basics of tsunamis. Available in English and Samoan.

Tsunamis on the Move

Tsunami Awareness Poster

Awareness poster available in English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Singalese.


Global Hazard Maps

Posters of Tsunami Sources, Significant Earthquakes and Significant Volcanic Eruptions. Also Tsunami Sources Icosohedron Globe.

great waves en 12 small thumbnail

Tsunami, The Great Waves

Available in English, Spanish, French and Chinese.


tsunami glossary 2013 thumbnail

Tsunami Glossary

Available in English, Arabic, Spanish, French and Bahasa. 



Where the First Wave Arrives in Minutes

Available in English, Bahasa, Spanish and French.


DVD copies for PC and Macintosh computers are available free of charge from the ITIC, Hawaii (

Hosted by:
UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE Oostende, Belgium
© 2015 International Tsunami Information Center | A UNESCO/IOC-NOAA Partnership
1845 Wasp Boulevard, Building 176, Honolulu, HI 96818, USA | Tel: +1 808 725 6050 | Fax: +1 808 725 6055