Report: 'Mega Earthquake would kill thousands in the Pacific Northwest'
Earthquake would cause billions in damage
Mike Masco , Associated Press
12:17 PM, Mar 15, 2013
4:56 PM, Mar 15, 2013
Baltimore, MD -
A report issued by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission states more than 10,00 people could die should a monster earthquake and tsunami hit the Pacific Northwest coastline. In the report from this commission, they specified coastal towns schools, building, and bridges would collapse causing 30 billion dollars in damage region wide. The commission was a group made up of 150 volunteer experts formulated in 2011, after the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami. Oregon legislators requested this study be done in order to inform the public and make them aware of the potential of a great disaster in the future. It's not a matter of if, but when.
The pacific northwest is located near the Cascadia Subduction Zone that history shows has been able to produce violent mega quakes.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a convergent plate boundary that runs from Vancouver island to northern California. This zone separates the Juan de Fuca and North America plates. As the ocean floor sinks below the continental plate in the waters off Washington and Oregon the North American Plate moves in a southwestern direction. Where the two plates meet is where you find the subduction zone.
In 1700 a mega earthquake erupted along the Cascadia Subduction Zone impacting the region flooding out much of the Pacific northwest. Recent findings conclude that the Cascadia Subduction zone is a very complex zone capable of becoming unstable rapidly. Geologists predicted a 37 percent chance of a very strong magnitude 8.2 or greater event within 50 years and a 10-15 percent chance of an event greater then 9.0 (Massive earthquake).
In an article by the New York Times dated in 2010 one expert asserted that buildings in the Pacific Northwest are not equipped to handle such an intense earthquake.
"(Seattle's) buildings, for example, are designed for roughly half of the earthquake loads of buildings in San Francisco or Los Angles because earthquakes occur roughly half as often in Seattle as in California's cities. But the result is that Pacific Northwest cities are full of buildings with slender structural frames and fewer and smaller shear walls. In a mega-quake, many of the region's iconic tall buildings would probably collapse. The loss of life and property from such a disaster would be far worse than the damage and death suffered in Chile." YANEV
Should an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or higher occur triggering a tsunami, many in Oregon, Washington, and California would be left without water, power, heat, and most survival commodities. In the event's wake thousands of homes would be wiped off the earth, bridges would be destroyed, and life itself would mimic the events that unfolded in Japan back in 2011.