What is a Tsunami? 

A tsunami is a series of powerful, fast-moving waves. Most tsunamis are generated by a large, off-shore earthquake, but they can also be caused by landslides, volcanic eruptions and even meteorite crashes.  

If the source is distant, you may have hours before waves arrive; if nearby, just a matter of minutes to get to safety. 

While the LMU bluff is elevated enough to not be in the inundation zone, much of the surrounding area (including Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, and the Ballona Wetlands) are within reach of a tsunami. Living by the coast, it's important to know how to respond in the unlikely event of a tsunami warning. 

Prepare BEFORE

  • Know your evacuation route from anywhere you frequent that's in the inundation zone.
  • Prepare emergency kits for your home, car, and workplace. Make a family communication plan.
  • Learn the natural warning signs of a tsunami:
    • FEEL the ground shaking, either severely or for a long time
    • SEE an unusual disappearance of water, or oncoming wall of water.
    • HEAR a loud roaring sound coming from the ocean.
    • Be aware and informed.
      • Confirm that your mobile phone is set up to receive wireless emergency alerts (WEAs) in your area. 
      • Purchase a hand crank (or battery operated) flashlight and radio, or purchase a NOAA weather radio receiver with an alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), to keep you informed of tsunami watches and warnings.

    Survive DURING

    • Be alert to natural warning signs, such as a sudden rise or draining of ocean waters, or a loud roar coming from the ocean. 
      • If you observe any natural warning signs, immediately move to high ground, as far inland as possible. 
      • If you are unable to quickly move inland, find a high, multi-story, reinforced concrete building and get to the the third floor or above.
    • Do not wait for official evacuation orders. 
    • Stay away from rivers and streams that lead to the ocean; strong tsunami waves and currents may push water up these channels.

    Stay Safe AFTER

    • Follow warnings and advice from local officials. Tune in to local radio and TV stations for more info/updates. 
    • Stay away from coastal areas until officials permit you to return.
    • If the tsunami was generated by a local earthquake, be alert for aftershocks.

    Where Should I Go? 

    California coastal counties have tsunami hazard zone signs (shown below), that identify which areas may be at risk. Use the signs to guide you out of a tsunami hazard zone and to a safe area.  


    Additional Resources