480,000 Californians live in risk zone for huge tsunami, which could cause $40 billion in damage
California faces significantly less risk than Japan for the kind of catastrophic tsunami that swallowed whole towns, killed thousands and reached five miles inland. But officials estimate a Southern California tsunami could cost billions of dollars, inundate areas such as Marina del Rey, Naples and Seal Beach, and affect operations at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.
USC researchers estimated in 2005 that the economic losses from a major tsunami in Southern California could reach $40 billion, depending on the extent of disruption to freeways and ports.
Other estimates suggest that a shutdown of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would cost about $1 billion a day.
The ports reported no damage from the recent tsunami in Japan, and officials said the area's geology means they are generally at minimal risk.
Read the full story here: Tsunami's effects in California offer clues about future, more powerful seismic events
-- Abby Sewell
Photo: A boat struggles through an oncoming surge of water in Crescent City, Calif., on March 11. The Japan tsunami roared into the city's boat basin, ripping up docks, sinking 11 boats and damaging 47, causing millions of dollars in damage. Credit: Bryant Anderson / Associated Press
Map: Inundation zone at Los Angeles Harbor. Credit: State of California