A boat sinks into the ocean in the aftermath of the surge caused by a tsunami on the harbor in Santa Cruz, Calif., Friday, March 11, 2011. A ferocious tsunami unleashed by Japan's biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it carried away ships, cars and homes, and triggered widespread fires that burned out of control. Hours later, the waves washed ashore on Hawaii and the U.S. West coast, where evacuations were ordered from California to Washington but little damage was reported. The entire Pacific had been put on alert _ including coastal areas of South America, Canada and Alaska _ but waves were not as bad as expected. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A boat sinks into the ocean in the aftermath of the surge caused by a tsunami on the harbor in Santa Cruz, Calif., Friday, March 11, 2011. A ferocious tsunami unleashed by Japan's biggest recorded earthquake slammed into its eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it carried away ships, cars and homes, and triggered widespread fires that burned out of control. Hours later, the waves washed ashore on Hawaii and the U.S. West coast, where evacuations were ordered from California to Washington but little damage was reported. The entire Pacific had been put on alert _ including coastal areas of South America, Canada and Alaska _ but waves were not as bad as expected. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
published Friday, March 11th, 2011
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Much of California is less vulnerable to the kind of tsunami wreckage caused Friday in Japan because the state's coastline is generally steeper, a University of California quake expert said.

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