Oregon's Next Huge Earthquake: Not If, But When - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Oregon's Next Huge Earthquake: Not If, But When

KHQ.COM - The clock is ticking on the next big earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, and experts fear it will be a monster.

Following the deadly magnitude-9.0 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, Oregon legislators commissioned a study of the impact a similar quake could have on the state, according to the Associated Press.

The report, "Oregon Resilience Plan: Reducing Risk and Improving Recovery for the Next Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami," was presented to legislators Thursday (March 14).

Within its pages is a chilling picture of death and destruction that would cripple the entire Pacific Northwest, from Northern California to British Columbia.

More than 10,000 people killed. Bridges, dams, roadways and buildings — including Oregon's State Capitol in Eugene — in a state of utter collapse. No water, electricity, natural gas, heat, telephone service or gasoline — in some cases, for months. Economic losses in excess of $30 billion.

The seismically active region has felt temblors before, most notably a massive earthquake and tsunami in January 1700 that wiped out entire forests in what is now Oregon and Washington and caused a deadly tsunami in Japan, thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. [Waves of Destruction: History's Biggest Tsunamis]

"This earthquake will hit us again," Kent Yu, chair of the commission that developed the report, told Oregon legislators, according to the Daily Mail. "It's just a matter of how soon."

That titanic 1700 shaker was a megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia Fault, a seismic zone that stretches for almost 700 miles (1,100 kilometers) just off the Pacific Northwest coast. Based on current understanding of the fault's seismic history, scientists estimate quakes occur along the line roughly every 240 years.

In other words, another big Cascadia Fault earthquake is "long overdue," the International Science Times reports.

The report also noted that, geologically speaking, Japan and Oregon are mirror images of each other. There is, however, one important difference: Japan is much more prepared for earthquakes.

And Oregon is hardly the only region of North America overdue for a large earthquake: The Lake Tahoe region on the California-Nevada border is home to the West Tahoe Fault, which generally sees a quake every 3,000 to 4,000 years, and the most recent temblor occurred 4,500 years ago.

Elsewhere in California, the southern San Andreas Fault last produced a big temblor in 1690, and has been relatively quiet ever since. That isn't good news, since a major earthquake usually occurs there every 180 years, according to recent research, and the fault line now has more than 300 years of pressure built up.

Whereas the West Coast is usually considered the most seismically active region of North America, the East Coast also has earthquakes, just not as often. Fault lines have recently been discovered near New York City, and the Indian Point nuclear power plant, about 24 miles (39 km) north of the city, straddles the previously unidentified intersection of two active seismic zones.

In virtually all of these regions, preparation for earthquakes has been woefully inadequate, say many experts. Maree Wacker, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Oregon, laments the state of readiness: "Oregonians as individuals are underprepared," Wacker told the Daily Mail.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Westbound I-90 at Ellensburg back open after 16 vehicle crash

    PHOTOS: Westbound I-90 at Ellensburg back open after 16 vehicle crash

    Saturday, February 17 2018 5:23 PM EST2018-02-17 22:23:29 GMT

    CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.

    >>

    CLE ELUM, Wash. - UPDATE: Washington State Department of Transportation says I-90 at Ellensburg is back open following a major crash Saturday morning. Westbound lanes were closed for several hours Saturday. Washington State Patrol urges drivers to use caution as conditions can change quickly.

    >>
  • Second Bonners Ferry teen found safe in North Dakota

    Second Bonners Ferry teen found safe in North Dakota

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:10 AM EST2018-02-18 16:10:32 GMT

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon. 

    >>

    BOUNDARY COUNTY, Idaho - UPDATE: The Boundary County Sheriff's Office confirmed Saturday afternoon that Alisa Hannaman has been found and is safe. The sheriff's office says the other girl, 13-year-old Kaia Kramer is still missing as of Saturday afternoon. 

    >>
  • Day care owner pleads guilty to trying to kill toddler

    Day care owner pleads guilty to trying to kill toddler

    Saturday, February 17 2018 10:46 PM EST2018-02-18 03:46:19 GMT

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home.    Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.

    >>

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minneapolis day care owner has pleaded guilty to trying to kill a toddler in her home.    Forty-three-year-old Nataliia Karia entered the plea to attempted murder and third-degree assault. She also pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular operation of a vehicle for hitting a pedestrian, a bicyclist and another driver as she fled from her home in a minivan.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • 6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    Monday, February 19 2018 12:16 AM EST2018-02-19 05:16:00 GMT
    6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse6-year-old, three others wounded in shooting outside Texas Roadhouse

    SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - A 6-year-old child and three other people were injured in a shooting Sunday night outside a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. News 4 San Antonio reports that authorities were called to the Texas Roadhouse at Cinema Ridge at about 8:45 p.m. for reports of an active shooter. Police said four people, including a 6-year-old child were hit when a suspect opened fire outside the restaurant, unloading an entire clip. News 4 

    >>

    SAN ANTONIO, Tex. - A 6-year-old child and three other people were injured in a shooting Sunday night outside a Texas Roadhouse restaurant. News 4 San Antonio reports that authorities were called to the Texas Roadhouse at Cinema Ridge at about 8:45 p.m. for reports of an active shooter. Police said four people, including a 6-year-old child were hit when a suspect opened fire outside the restaurant, unloading an entire clip. News 4 

    >>
  • 14-year-old North Carolina girl found 5 months after her disappearance in Georgia

    14-year-old North Carolina girl found 5 months after her disappearance in Georgia

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:43 PM EST2018-02-19 04:43:03 GMT
    Courtesy CMPDCourtesy CMPD

     CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 14-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina girl who disappeared five months ago was found in Georgia this week. WSOC TV reports that Nakia Williams was last seen Sept. 7, 2017 after leaving her home on Wiegon Lane. Georgia law enforcement officials confirmed with WSOC Wednesday that she was seen in Emanuel County, Georgia. Nakia’s mother told WSOC that she was found that same day in Lyons, Georgia, 

    >>

     CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 14-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina girl who disappeared five months ago was found in Georgia this week. WSOC TV reports that Nakia Williams was last seen Sept. 7, 2017 after leaving her home on Wiegon Lane. Georgia law enforcement officials confirmed with WSOC Wednesday that she was seen in Emanuel County, Georgia. Nakia’s mother told WSOC that she was found that same day in Lyons, Georgia, 

    >>
  • Drowsy driver rolls car in Franklin County

    Drowsy driver rolls car in Franklin County

    Sunday, February 18 2018 11:25 PM EST2018-02-19 04:25:01 GMT
    Franklin County Sheriff's OfficeFranklin County Sheriff's Office

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. - The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is reminding travelers when it comes to driving the roads, if you snooze, you could lose. In a Facebook post Sunday, they compared drowsy-driving to drunk-driving, saying both are dangerous. Deputies say a man driving the car, pictured with this article, fell asleep on his way home from work. They say his car left the road and hit a guard-rail before rolling. The man was wearing 

    >>

    FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. - The Franklin County Sheriff's Office is reminding travelers when it comes to driving the roads, if you snooze, you could lose. In a Facebook post Sunday, they compared drowsy-driving to drunk-driving, saying both are dangerous. Deputies say a man driving the car, pictured with this article, fell asleep on his way home from work. They say his car left the road and hit a guard-rail before rolling. The man was wearing 

    >>