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Science & Technology

OSU Wave Lab Propels Tsunami Research

Karen Richards

On the outskirts of the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, there’s a wave research lab, where two giant concrete basins can simulate the impacts of big waves. KLCC learned about some of the current research. 

The simulated tsunami waves in OSU’s directional pool are pretty impressive. [ambi] Pedro Lomonaco is the Director of the facility. He says a recent study here looked at how many mangroves are needed to shield a coastal community from damage:


Lomonaco: “In comparison to what most people thought, you don’t need to have something super big to already have protection.”


A field of just 50 mangroves calmed the force of a big wave. 


In another room, a long narrow flume produces taller waves coming from one direction. It’s set up now to simulate a vertical evacuation building. 


Lomonaco: “What are the forces the structures are going to be undertaking when you have a tsunami hitting that structure, because if you go on top of that structure you want that structure to survive a tsunami of course.” 


Engineers from the University of Washington designed the tests. Simulations will run through the end of the year. 



Credit Karen Richards
The flume wave simulator


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