The Portland Earthquake Project? Say what?
That’s what I said last week when I found out about this awesome May 29th seminar by Canadian author Jerry Thompson in downtown Portland.
The author has written the definitive book on “the big one” – that is – the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. It’s called “Cascadia’s Fault – The Coming Earthquake And Tsunami That Could Devastate North America”.
Someday, the situation he’s written about will be our Japan. Our Sumatra. Where we get the mega-quake offshore Oregon, Washington, British Columbia & Northern California. And we get the massive Tsunami here first. Then the rest of the Pacific does.
Based on Tsunami evidence from Japan & soil samples from the ocean floor, we know the last mega earthquake – the last big one to hit the northwest was in the year 1700. That’s 312 years ago. What’s scary is the very latest research shows that this fault goes just 300-350 years between mega-quakes about 85% of the time. Only rarely (15% of the time) does it go longer than that between big action. So right now…we’re realistically in the window where this quake could happen at any time.
At this point geologists like Oregon State Professor Chris Goldfinger, a Cascadia quake expert, believe up to a 9.1 earthquake is possible. In addition to what happens at the coast–where this quake and tsunami will be catastrophic–the Willamette Valley will be a mess. Studies show many of our bridges will be un-drivable. Many places may lose power. And think of everyone picking up their cell phones at once to check on friends or family. Is that going to work well? Chances are your house is still standing in the metro area–but is it on fire? Some gas lines will rupture. If it is winter – expect mudslides. You get the idea.
The most surprising thing to me? As recently as 1985 we didn’t even think the Cascadia Subduction Zone would erupt. Geologists thought it was a fault that, for some reason, just didn’t pose a risk in modern times. Now, we know better!
And that’s why we need the Portland Earthquake Project to help spread the word about the Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami that is in our future.
Not if. But when.