Tags: cascadia | fault | line | earthquake | san andreas

Cascadia Fault Line Could Produce the 'Big One': Earthquake Experts

By    |   Thursday, 16 Jul 2015 08:25 AM

The Cascadia fault line in the Pacific Northwest may pose more of a threat for an earthquake scientists refer to as "the big one" than the San Andreas fault, experts warned this month.

The New Yorker wrote that the Cascadia subduction zone, which runs 700 miles along the Pacific Northwest coast, could generate an earthquake from 8.0 and 8.6 magnitude if the southern portion of the zone gives way. If the entire zone is affected, it could lead to a tremor somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2 magnitude.

The magazine said that the San Andreas fault lines could produce an earthquake up to 8.2 magnitude.

Chris Goldfinger, a geology and geophysics professor at Oregon State University, told The New Yorker that an earthquake along the Cascadia fault line could happen within the next 50 years. Kenneth Murphy, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Region X division, said that would not be good news for the upper west coast.

"Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast," Murphy said. "This is one time that I'm hoping all the science is wrong, and it won't happen for another thousand years."

The New Yorker said the prediction of land west of Interstate 5 in peril because of the Cascadia fault line would affect roughly seven million people, including those living in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Eugene.

Sean Keeley, of Seattle Curbed, wrote that Seattle residents have become accustomed to earthquake talk.

"We've been hearing about the potential for a catastrophic earthquake for some time," Keeley wrote. "It's a big part of why the Alaskan Way Viaduct is (eventually) coming down. Maybe you wanna hurry up with that, guys."

Former FEMA director James Lee Witt told the Seattle Times in 2013 that a Cascadia fault line earthquake in the Pacific Northwest has the potential to be devastating.

"The 'Big One' in the Pacific Northwest has the potential to be the most costly and destructive disaster in the history of the United States, both in terms of loss of life and economic damage," Witt said. "The long-term economic impact could alter our entire economy."

The Seattle Times wrote in 2013 that the death toll in Oregon alone could reach 5,000 with economic losses in Oregon and Washington totaling $80 billion.

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The Cascadia fault line in the Pacific Northwest may pose more of a threat for an earthquake scientists refer to as "the big one" than the San Andreas fault, experts warned this month.
cascadia, fault, line, earthquake, san andreas
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2015-25-16
Thursday, 16 Jul 2015 08:25 AM
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