The Coming Big One,The Cascadia Region

We’ve seen enough recent M 9 earthquakes to have a good idea of what the next one will do to Cascadia: they struck inhabited regions in 1960 (Chile), 1964 (Alaska), 2004 (Sumatra) and 2010 (Chile again). The Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup (CREW) recently prepared a 24-page booklet, including photos from historic quakes, to bring the dreadful scenario to life:

  • Strong shaking will last for 4 minutes, killing and injuring thousands.
  • A tsunami up to 10 meters high will wash over the coast within minutes.
  • Much of coastal Route 101 will be impassable due to wave and landslide damage.
  • Parts of the coast will be cut off from inland cities when the roads are buried. Roads through the Cascades may likewise be blocked.
  • For rescue, first aid, and immediate relief most places will be on their own.
  • Utilities and transportation in the I-5/Highway 99 corridor will be disrupted for months.
  • Cities may have “significant fatalities” as tall buildings collapse.
  • Aftershocks will continue for years, some of them large earthquakes in themselves.

From Seattle on down, Cascadian governments are preparing for this event. (In this effort they have much to learn from Japan’s Tokai Earthquake program.) The work ahead is enormous and will never be finished, but all of it will count: public education, setting up tsunami evacuation routes, strengthening buildings and building codes, conducting drills and more. The CREW pamphlet, Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquakes: A magnitude 9.0 earthquake scenario, has more.

Tokai Earthquake,Hamaoka nuclear power plants

The Hamaoka nuclear power plants are in right above the assumed source region of the Tokai earthquake. 

Hamaoka nuclear power plants

Hamaoka nuclear power plants