|Morning in Port Angeles, looking across the Salish Sea|
These two things, the end of the mountains and the end of the glaciers are related. The Strait we were crossing, along with the Strait of Georgia and the Puget Sound, are collectively known as the Salish Sea. The term was coined in the late 1980s as a way of recognizing the interconnectedness of these bodies of water as a single environmental entity. The name originated with the indigenous people who first colonized the landscape around the sea.
|The Salish Sea (from http://blogs.agu.org/fromaglaciersperspective/2015/06/08/salmon-challenges-from-glaciers-to-the-salish-sea/)|
The Olympic Peninsula is made up mostly of ocean floor sediments and basaltic rock pushed up as material was stuffed into the trench. Vancouver Island has a different origin. It is a piece of continental crust that traveled across the Pacific (at the feverish rate of a few inches per year) only to collide with the western edge of North America. Such far-traveled landmasses are called exotic terranes.
Sometimes confined bodies of water can weaken the effect of tsunamis by dispersing the energy of the waves, but in some circumstances they can magnify the energy instead. There is some evidence of ancient tsunamis along the shorelines of some of the interior islands of the Salish Sea. The effects will probably muted compared to the damage along the Pacific Coast, but more developments are located there as well. On a positive note, the cities in the region are recognizing the threat and are talking action to minimize the damage (see an example here).
This post is part of a series on our field study of the geology and anthropology of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.