CWU shakes things up in Chile

April Porter, Staff Reporter

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Professors Lisa Ely and Breanyn MacInnes are heading to Chile again in January 2017.

Ely has previously been to Chile to study past earthquakes and tsunamis as a grant- funded exploration. Thise grant, in the amount of $267,194, will be used for annual trips to Chile over the next three months.

The team is usually  made up of about eight to ten people. Ely and MacInnes will be able to take two graduate students with them. They hope to incorporate their findings into future classes with undergraduate students.

Ely’s first time applying for a grant for this study was in 2008, after she met Marco Cisternas on a trip to India in 2004. The two of them, and others, were studying a past tsunami by the Indian Ocean. Cisternas has continued to be a part of the trip preparations, because of his experience in the field.

Ely added MacInnes to the team because of her extensive knowledge of tsunamis. This will be her second time on the Chile trip. The earthquake and tsunami team will use a drone to collect topographic data of the Chilean coast.

MacInnes will be able to use her area of expertise in collecting this data in order to compare it to data from the United States’ West Coast, which are almost identical.

This is why the study of past tsunamis in Chile will help “advance our general understanding of these types of events,” Ely said.