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Researchers to see if Douglas Channel at tsunami risk

Researchers will be mapping the ocean floor in the Douglas Channel and Kitimat Arm this summer.

Natural Resources Canada researchers will be using sonar to map underwater rock and mountain formations, looking for geohazards.

Gwyn Lintern is a geoscientist and says it’s important to know what’s above and below the water, in the steep sided fjords that make up much of the province’s coast.

While many people associate tsunamis with earthquakes, the sudden displacement of material above or underwater can also cause tsunamis.

Lintern says Kitimat Arm has a history of underwater landslides, the last one occurring in 1975.

Lintern says the Douglas Channel is a a scientifically rich area to explore.

He says they hope they can discover the magnitude and frequency these underwater events take place, and to calculate if they’re a tsunami risk or not.

Lintern says he and about a half dozen other scientists will be leaving Victoria on July 8th and they’ll work their way up north.

They expect to be in the Douglas Channel around July 11th, where they’ll stay for about a week.

There will be a second expedition at the end of September on a much larger ship.

Last year they stopped at several communities and gave on-board tours, and may do that again in September.

The data from this project, which is in its second of four years, is publicly available.

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