Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13 – To Palmer, Alaska

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There were some more trails we could have done but the forecast for the next week called for mostly rain. We decided to head inland a bit to try and get some better weather.

We drove back along the edge of Turnagain Arm. It was nicer this time, with no wind and at least some sun, way off in the west.



Through Anchorage.


And then along the edge of Knik Arm.


We set up in our campground and then went back into Palmer. They have an artists market every Friday. We browsed the crafts but we are suckers for Thai food.


I had read in someone else’s blog that the Tsunami Warning Center gives tours every Friday.


There are two US warning centers. One in Hawaii that does the warnings for the eastern Pacific and this one that does warning for all of coastal North America, east and west coast, Canada included.

The people working there give the tours. They are not specially hired guides. There were a group of kids in there already and they were using wave pool to see how the depth of water affects the wave height.



We went into a conference room and they gave us about an hour long slide presentation and talk about earthquakes, how they produce the tsunamis and how the warning system works. Its sounds boring but it was actually quite interesting and you could tell the speaker enjoyed his job.

They collect data from seismometers all over the world via satellite or the internet, when the countries that own them will provide the data. Some don’t, which seems very stupid.

When an earthquake occurs they check if the location is underwater. It also must be one that produces an up and down motion, rather than a side slip, so that water will be displaced to create the waves. Then they have an array of buoys watching for the waves to pass. Tsunami waves cause a pressure increase top to bottom in the ocean, whereas wind waves only affect the surface. Then they calculate who will be hit, when and how high the wave will be. Tsunami waves travel at about 500 mph in the deep ocean so they have to be fast. There are always two people in the center 24/7.

He showed us the displays for a small earthquake that happened off of Russia about 20 minutes previously.



They have two duplicate systems and both people must agree. False alarms are a bad thing. He said a tsunami warning in Hawaii would cost about 40 million dollars, not to mention that people might panic and hurt themselves.


It was a worthwhile tour.

We hit the visitors center for some info and then went back to the RV to do some planning.

We ran into our first RV caravan today. Before:

After: There is another row of them in front of these ones.

They got here about 5 pm and leave tomorrow at 7 am, going to Homer.

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