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We've Got Fires, We've Got Quakes, We've Got...Tsunamis?

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There are two things you can count on living in LA: fires and earthquakes. Now, it seems, we might need to add some tsunami insurance to our list of must-have So Cal coverage policies.

The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (phew - this is why we have acronyms: NOAA) and the Seismic Safety Commission have launched a study to determine the potential tsunami risk to the LA and Long Beach ports.

After last year's Crescent City tsunami, which was set off by an earthquake in the Kuril Islands and caused $10 million in damage, officials want to get ahead of the wave...ahem, curve and assess possible damage and potential solutions before the big one hits.

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Experts believe that a major disruption to our local ports could cost the national economy $1 billion a day. If we've got the technology to detect tsunamis and warn residents, why not put it to good use? Eddie Bernard, director of NOAA, shared his thoughts with the LA Times:

"I think it's clear that from a local tsunami you would have problems, but from a distant tsunami that's an unanswered question," Bernard said. Why take a chance, when we have the tools, when we have the technology? Why not explore it?"

Indeed. But what surprises us more than the impending threat of tsunamis is the cost of the study: $50,000. A bargain price for reducing billions of dollars in damage.Photo by epugachev via Flickr