336. Chilean Quake a Warning to U.S. Northwest – Dot Earth Blog – NYTimes.com
March 2, 2010 § Leave a comment
I see this in the context of climate change. makes focus on anything except the immediate hard, because what is one to do?
The Pacific “ ring of fire” doesn’t stop at the equator. While my print story and post on quake threats last week focused on the seismic peril facing millions of poor people living in fast-growing cities in quake zones, there are plenty of prosperous places that have not adequately responded to their exposure to enormous, and inevitable, earthquake risk.
A prime case in point is Oregon. After the destruction of hundreds of poorly built schools in China’s Sichuan province, I wrote repeatedly here and in print about similar vulnerability identified by engineers and seismologists in that state, despite the clear record of devastating quakes and tsunamis generated by the Cascadia fault beneath the sea bed off the Northwest coast.
Read this recent warning from Patrick Corcoran, a hazards outreach specialist with the Oregon Sea Grant program at Oregon State University:
“The release of pressure between two overlapping tectonic plates along the subduction zone regularly generates massive 9.0 magnitude earthquakes –- including five over the last 1,400 years. The last ‘Big One’ was 309 years ago. We are in a geologic time when we can expect another ‘Big One,’ either in our lives or those of our children. Prudence dictates that we overcome our human tendencies to ignore this inevitability.”