Rebuilding the Crescent City harbor

On March 11, 2011, a tsunami triggered by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan caused millions of dollars in damage to the Crescent City Harbor. Now, the rebuilding — with new protections — begins.

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  1. The new infrastructure will be able to withstand the strongest tsunami that has a 2 percent chance of occurring any year during a 50-year timeframe.  
    “A 2 percent occurrence has a (wave) height of about 15-feet,” Crescent City engineer Ward Stover said.
  2. Tsunami flyover, Crescent City, Calif.
  3. In Crescent City on March 11, 2011, waves crushed boats and swept away most of the harbor’s docks. Despite warnings, a total of seven people were swept out to sea between Northern California and Southern Oregon. One man was killed.

  4. Crescent City Tsunami, 2011
  5. Geology plays a large role in Crescent City's vulnerability to tsunamis. National Weather Service spokesman and meteorologist Troy Nicolini said the harbor’s shape and design — with steep rock walls — traps wave energy, causing them to bounce around rather than break up. The harbor has been hit repeatedly, including the devastating 1964 tsunami that killed 11.
  6. Even the shape of the ocean floor conspires to direct waves to the Crescent City Harbor, Nicolini said.