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ABSTRACT

Development along the coasts of Oregon and Washington is threatened by a variety of natural hazards, including coastal erosion, landslides, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Property losses have increased significantly in recent years due to past land-use and management practices and an intensification of the physical processes that drive coastal change. This field trip will visit a number of sites that document or illustrate the processes that shape Pacific Northwest coastal geomorphology and create hazards, including potentially catastrophic tsunamis generated by the Cascadia subduction zone. New research documenting ocean processes (including the role of changing wave climates, storm surges, El Nino's, and sea-level rise), tsunamis, and the effects of coastal subduction caused by great earthquakes will be covered. Also examined is the human response, which includes constructing coastal engineering structures, the establishment of coastal “erosion” hazard zones, and various mitigation efforts that are being implemented to prepare for future tsunamis. The field trip concludes on the southern Washington coast at Cape Disappointment State Park adjacent to the Columbia River, where construction of the Columbia River jetties, river flow regulation, and dredging and disposal activities have affected the sediment budget of the Columbia River littoral cell, resulting in changing sediment conditions and management practices for this cell.

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