I just finished watching a program on the H2 channel about the Cascadia Fault Line and took some notes. Scientists studying this fault have found evidence that this line has been the source of mega-earthquakes and tsunamis for thousands of years. It stretches for over 600 miles along the west coast of the North American continent. An earthquake can last for more than 5 minutes as the tremor passes the full length of the fault. A quake of that duration can cause massive amounts of damage.
The last major earthquake from this fault line was January 26, 1700. It sent tidal waves along the Pacific Coast as well as across the Pacific to Japan and other parts of Asia. There is still a lot of evidence of the destruction of that quake.
The authorities today expect another major event from this fault that could occur at any time. This earthquake could cause major damage from northern California to northern British Columbia. It could create a tidal wave (Tsunami) that would devastate the coasts of the Pacific states along with Hawaii, Japan and Asia.
Tidal waves can travel across the ocean at the speed of 600 miles an hour. This means that a tsunami could hit the American coast within minutes of an earthquake. There will be no time to warn people. There are many people who have homes along the coast. These people will be at great risk. Thousands of homes will be destroyed. Cities such as Astoria, Oregon and many others will probably be demolished.
Also, during the summer tens of thousands of people visit the Pacific coast for recreation purposes. These people will be in great danger because there will be no way to alert them that a tsunami will hit in just minutes.
My son and his family once lived in a home south of Newport, Oregon that was so close to the ocean you could hear the water roaring 24 hours per day. I figured that they were only a few feet above sea level. However, the road that they lived on went up a hill behind them. I thought that if they ever felt any form of earthquake, they should grab the kids, jump into the car and head up that road away from the water. The higher the better. I have heard of tidal waves that were more than 100 feet high!
Large cities like Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, B.C. will suffer major damage. Buildings will collapse. Older building are built of brick called “unreinforced masonry.” These types of buildings are no match for a strong earthquake. Also, modern buildings are often built with parking garages in the basement. This becomes the weakest point of the entire structure as an empty “shell" is supporting the rest of the building. It is thought that this will lead to the destruction of many structures if a major quake occurs.
Bridges will fall. These bridges were built years ago with little thought given to the possibility of a major earthquake. This will cause many fatalities as well as transportation problems for years to come in large cities such as Portland and Seattle.
It is expected that an earthquake along this fault could reach 9 on the Richter Scale. That is 1,000 times stronger than the earthquake (6.8) that devastated Kobe, Japan with tens of thousands of casualties!
Although Medford, Oregon (where I live) is more than 100 miles from the coast, it is certain that we will have a lot of major damage here, too. But, the tallest building in town is only 5 stories. And they are just now wrapping up the construction of it. So, it may do well if a quake hits. However, I do expect that a lot of buildings will be destroyed. And, there are a few bridges here that might collapse. But, I still think we will be safer here than the coast or major cities.
Anyhow, if you live near the beach in one of these northwest states, you should always be prepared to get in your car and go if you feel any sort of earth tremor. Head for the high ground! Don’t drive alongside the ocean. A tidal wave could come in 100 feet over your head! We want you all to be safe.
Those of you who live in these vulnerable areas need to prepare now! Get your plans made! How you will survive THEN may depend on what you do NOW!