Stay Eat Events Weather Beaches

Scientists Uncover New Aspects of 1700 Tsunami Along Oregon Coast

Published 08/23/21 at 9:58 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Scientists Uncover New Aspects of 1700 Tsunami Along Oregon Coast

Latest Coastal Lodging News Alerts
In Seaside:
Includes exclusive listings; major specials now that winter is here
In Cannon Beach:
Includes rentals not listed anywhere else
In Manzanita, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach:
major specials for winter
In Pacific City, Oceanside:
Winter's enticing specials now
In Lincoln City:
Major winter specials now
In Depoe Bay, Gleneden Beach:
major specials this season
In Newport:
Look for many specials
In Waldport
New amenities offered; specials and tempting prices now
In Yachats, Florence
Big deals available; lodgings not listed anywhere else
Southern Oregon Coast Hotels / Lodgings
Reedsport to Brookings, places to stay; winter deals

(Newport, Oregon) – Scientists from the central Oregon coast's Hatfield Marine Science Center and from Washington State recently made a discovery about the 1700 tsunami affected trees in the area. Working with growth rings in trees that dated back to the 1600s, researchers found the great inundation slowed tree growth. (Photo courtesy Hatfield Marine Science Center)

The core samples were taken from a stand of old growth Douglas-fir in the South Beach area of Newport, as far as about a mile inland from the ocean. The discovery also confirms what scientists thought about the reach of the January 1700 quake, which rattled from the Cascadia Subduction Zone – the last one to do so.

Leading the project was Robert Dziak, a Hatfield Marine Science Center-based scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.

Dziak said this event significantly affected growth of the trees that year. Dziak's team also studied other old growth trees not in the tsunami zone and compared them, finding a normal growth rate in those.

As of yet, scientists don't know exactly why this was so detrimental to the trees, but working theories include the fact the ground shook so heavily during the earthquake and the heavy presence of sea water surrounding them.

“The salty seawater from a tsunami typically drains pretty quickly, but there is a pond area in Mike Miller Park where the seawater likely settled and remained for a longer period of time,” Dziak said.

These bits and pieces of how tsunamis worked and affected the areas are important to figuring out the bigger picture along the Oregon and Washington coast, he said.

“It helps us understand what we might expect when the next ‘big one' hits,” Dziak said.

The findings were published recently in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences.

Also see Explanations of Neskowin Ghost Forest Wrong, Say Oregon Coast Geologists Those inimitable and freaky stumps of mystery are subject of rumor and bad info

Finding such trees proved to be a major challenge: Dziak and the team were surprised to discover some at all, much less a stand of trees that had not been logged already. They managed to work with nearly 40 Douglas-fir, and used a technique that did not disturb their future growth or damage them overall.

The next step is to do some isotopic analysis on the wood from 1700, then compare it to tsunami-inundated wood from 2011 in Japan. According to Bryan Black of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona, Tucson, this could enable researchers to create a prehistoric map of tsunami zones up and down the Oregon coast.

Hotels in Newport - Where to eat - Newport Maps and Virtual Tours


Mike Miller Park, courtesy Hatfield - More South Beach below


More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

Coastal Spotlight

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

New Surge in Orca Sightings Over Weekend Good Sign for Oregon Coast Holiday
Chances may be good you'll get to spot some over holiday weekend. Whales, marine sciences
Surprisingly, One Man Connects Oregon Coast Lighthouses at Heceta Head, Terri...
One man, Oswald Allik, served on both the Seaside and Florence-area lights until the end. Cannon Beach, Florence history
Some of the Most Riveting Oregon Coast Views Are Hardest to Find
Outstanding viewpoints along the beaches that you may not know: Depoe Bay, Port Orford, Oceanside, Cannon Beach
2022 Memorial Weekend Travel Advice, Warnings for Oregon Coast
Dealing with traffic, hotels, speed traps, weather
South Oregon Coast's Bandon Holds Special Puffin Viewing Day
Puffin Party celebration at Bandon's Face Rock Wayside on May 28. Bandon events
Central Oregon Coast Artist Exhibits Surreal, Colorful Works at Florence Visi...
Mixed media called encaustics created by Jo Beaudreau. Florence events
Oregon Coast Wildlife Officials: Don't Kidnap Wildlife
It's not just baby seals you'll have to watch out for. Sciences
Oregon Coast Aquarium Celebrates 30 Years This Week
Since 1992, the Aquarium in Newport has been showing off countless oceanic wonders to over two generations. Newport events

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted