For the more information about the geologic resources of the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/geology/.


Coastal Hazards

Tsunami damage in Pago Pago, American Samoa in 2009 (NPS photo).
Tsunami damage in Pago Pago, American Samoa (NPS photo).

Natural hazards such as storms, tsunamis, and rip currents are driving forces of change along the coast. When combined with increasing sea levels, these events may have tremendous impacts on our coastal environments and beaches.

Humans often attempt to alter and control the coastal zone for increased public safety and property preservation (see Human Impact ). However, these modifications may actually increase storm impacts in some locations. In addition, storm events are necessary to sustain many coastal environments. Many wetland environments depend on storm activities for sediment deposition to keep up with sea level rise.

The National Park Service, in cooperation with various universities and government agencies, is undertaking a series of investigations to assess the vulnerability of natural and cultural resources to storms in coastal parks. These projects will allow managers to better understand that vulnerability and improve the park's pre-storm preparedness and post-storm response. The NPS is also actively involved with public storm education through presentations in parks and internet-based multimedia, such as the Views of the National Parks.


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Last Updated: August 15, 2011