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>>

  • Speed thought to be a factor in fatal Newman Lake crash

    Speed thought to be a factor in fatal Newman Lake crash

    Thursday, July 27 2017 2:04 AM EDT2017-07-27 06:04:53 GMT

    NEWMAN LAKE, Wash. - Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of a fatal crash that happened north of Newman Lake Wednesday afternoon, but they say speed was likely a factor.  Investigators on scene say an SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed heading west on Muzzy Road when the driver missed a curve and slammed into a tree.

    >>

    NEWMAN LAKE, Wash. - Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of a fatal crash that happened north of Newman Lake Wednesday afternoon, but they say speed was likely a factor.  Investigators on scene say an SUV was traveling at a high rate of speed heading west on Muzzy Road when the driver missed a curve and slammed into a tree.

    >>
  • Medical call turns violent, man pulls gun on Spokane firefighters

    Medical call turns violent, man pulls gun on Spokane firefighters

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 9:03 PM EDT2017-07-27 01:03:50 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Firefighters risk their lives on a daily basis to save others: Walking through burning buildings, performing water rescues, and fighting brush fires. But, what was at first a normal medical call last week turned into a very dangerous situation for Spokane firefighters. "The person went from a normal status like you and I talking here to extremely violent," said Spokane Fire Chief Schaeffer.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Firefighters risk their lives on a daily basis to save others: Walking through burning buildings, performing water rescues, and fighting brush fires. But, what was at first a normal medical call last week turned into a very dangerous situation for Spokane firefighters. "The person went from a normal status like you and I talking here to extremely violent," said Spokane Fire Chief Schaeffer.

    >>
  • Is there an alligator in Clear Lake?

    Is there an alligator in Clear Lake?

    Wednesday, July 26 2017 8:47 PM EDT2017-07-27 00:47:57 GMT

    YAKIMA, Wash. - A picture of what appears to be an alligator in Clear Lake is making the rounds on Facebook. The viral post has more than 4,000 shares and asks the question: Is there a gator among us? While it cannot be confirmed, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says it’s likely not an alligator.

    >>

    YAKIMA, Wash. - A picture of what appears to be an alligator in Clear Lake is making the rounds on Facebook. The viral post has more than 4,000 shares and asks the question: Is there a gator among us? While it cannot be confirmed, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says it’s likely not an alligator.

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

  • Deer Park home catches fire on N. Spotted Rd.

    Deer Park home catches fire on N. Spotted Rd.

    Thursday, July 27 2017 10:31 AM EDT2017-07-27 14:31:51 GMT

    DEER PARK, Wash. - A home has caught fire in the 26000 block of N. Spotted Rd. in Deer Park, WA north of Spokane.  One woman was inside the home at the time of the fire and she was able to make it out safely.  We do not know the cause of the fire at this time.   

    >>

    DEER PARK, Wash. - A home has caught fire in the 26000 block of N. Spotted Rd. in Deer Park, WA north of Spokane.  One woman was inside the home at the time of the fire and she was able to make it out safely.  We do not know the cause of the fire at this time.   

    >>
  • Two-year-old girl airlifted to Sacred Heart after getting hit by car in parking lot

    Two-year-old girl airlifted to Sacred Heart after getting hit by car in parking lot

    Thursday, July 27 2017 10:00 AM EDT2017-07-27 14:00:05 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A two-year-old girl from Coeur d'Alene is in critical but stable condition after getting hit by a vehicle in the parking lot of an apartment complex. The incident happened in the 600 block of W. Wilbur Avenue around 8:45pm.  When officers arrived on scene, life measures and CPR had already begun. Medical personnel with the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department arrived and immediately transported the girl to Kootenai Health.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - A two-year-old girl from Coeur d'Alene is in critical but stable condition after getting hit by a vehicle in the parking lot of an apartment complex. The incident happened in the 600 block of W. Wilbur Avenue around 8:45pm.  When officers arrived on scene, life measures and CPR had already begun. Medical personnel with the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department arrived and immediately transported the girl to Kootenai Health.

    >>
  • Scammers are trying to steal your Social Security benefits

    Scammers are trying to steal your Social Security benefits

    Thursday, July 27 2017 9:45 AM EDT2017-07-27 13:45:34 GMT

    KHQ.COM - A scam alert to tell you about. The social security administration is warning that scammers are impersonating government agents and stealing people's benefits.  According to a blog post on the administration's website, the calls come from a number with a "323" area code. The caller claims they are an agency employee and that the victim is due a 1.7% cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase if their social security benefits.

    >>

    KHQ.COM - A scam alert to tell you about. The social security administration is warning that scammers are impersonating government agents and stealing people's benefits.  According to a blog post on the administration's website, the calls come from a number with a "323" area code. The caller claims they are an agency employee and that the victim is due a 1.7% cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase if their social security benefits.

    >>