(Silver Spring, Md.) —Discovery Channel’s original special, AMERICA’S TSUNAMI: ARE WE NEXT?, premiering in the U.S. on Sunday, December 18, at 9 PM (ET/PT), reveals new geological evidence that seafloor uplift from the 9.2 magnitude Great Sumatra earthquake – not a giant underwater landslide as previously thought – caused the devastating December 26, 2004, Asian tsunami. The groundbreaking Indian Ocean expedition and new scientific findings enabled scientists to use data to improve computer-generated tsunami wave models and better predict the next tsunami wave.
Specifically, scientists point to the northwest region of the United States (northern California and coastal areas of Oregon and Washington) as being most at risk for a tsunami event because its fault lines are a mirror image of those in the Indian Ocean subduction zone. Scientists estimate that tsunami events happen every 200 to 400 years on the West Coast – the last occurred on January 26, 1700 – and with a fault line located just 50 miles off the coast along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, this region is thought to be the next target, with potential waves as high as 90 feet.
AMERICA’S TSUNAMI: ARE WE NEXT? follows an international team of 27 scientists led by Dr. Kate Moran from the University of Rhode Island. The distinguished team quickly mobilized last May and was the first team to reach the tsunami epicenter. Using state-of-the-art camera equipment, the special shows never-before-seen footage of the epicenter and the massive and dramatic geologic changes that caused gigantic waves.
“We are proud to provide the resources enabling the leading experts to explore scientific phenomena quickly and accurately while also immersing viewers in a part of the world they have never seen before. It is our hope that AMERICA’S TSUNAMI: ARE WE NEXT? helps advance efforts in gaining a greater understanding of last year’s tsunami and in predicting future destruction,” said Jane Root, executive vice president and general manager, Discovery Channel U.S.
AMERICA’S TSUNAMI: ARE WE NEXT?, funded by Discovery Channel, the BBC and ProSieben, is a special presentation of Discovery Channel QUEST, an initiative designed to inspire and fund projects spearheaded by scientists and explorers who are at the vanguard of their fields. Their research activities will be chronicled in landmark television specials that capture the toil, genius, setbacks and exhilaration that are the lifeblood of the search for knowledge.
Cascadia extends from northern California to the peninsula of British Columbia and is an exact mirror image geologically to the Indian Ocean subduction zone where the December 2004 tsunami occurred. Using new data and improved models from the expedition, scientists predict a tsunami three times the size of current estimates.
AMERICA’S TSUNAMI: ARE WE NEXT? is an original production produced for Discovery Channel by Darlow Smithson, broadcast on Discovery Channel in the U.S., on BBC One in the U.K. and ProSieben in Germany. For Discovery Channel, Peter Lovering is the executive producer. A version of this special will air in international markets at a later date.
Discovery Communications is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company. Discovery has grown from its core property, the Discovery Channel, first launched in the United States in 1985, to current global operations in more than 160 countries and territories with 1.3 billion cumulative subscribers. DCI’s over 90 networks of distinctive programming represent 25 network entertainment brands. DCI’s other properties consist of Discovery Education and Discovery Commerce, which operates 120 Discovery Channel Stores. DCI also distributes BBC America in the United States. DCI’s ownership consists of four shareholders: Discovery Holding Company (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB), Cox Communications, Inc., Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company’s Founder and Chairman.
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America's Tsunami: Discovery Channel Special