An official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's International Tsunami Center in Hawaii has warned that the Northern Marianas' barrier reefs in Saipan will not stop a tsunami from hitting the island.
Brian Yanagi says the myth about barrier reefs stopping a tsunami in its tracks is one he wants to dispel.
He says the barrier reefs can absorb some of the energy but they will not stop a tsunami.
Mr Yanagi is one of four lecturers at a two day CNMI Tsunami Awareness Course initiated by the Emergency Management Office.
He says the CNMI and Guam have a history of tsunamis, some of which have been destructive.