When Will The Next Megathrust Earthquake Strike The Cascadia Subduction Zone?


314 years ago Sunday, a megathrust earthquake devastated the region … ready for another?

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THE CASCADIA SUBDUCTION ZONE: The geography of northern California, Oregon, Washington, and southern British Columbia is shaped by the Cascadia subduction zone, where the North American Plate collides with a number of smaller plates: the largest of these is the Juan de Fuca Plate, flanked by the Explorer Plate to the north and the Gorda plate to the south. These smaller plates “subduct” (descend) beneath the North American Plate as they converge along a 700-mile long (1,130 km) boundary. A large portion of the boundary between the subducting and overriding plates resists the convergent motion, until this part of the boundary breaks in a great earthquake. Above: Schematic view of the source area for the largest Cascadia earthquakes. (Image adapted from U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1707 (page 8), Atwater et al., http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/pp1707/)

Never missing the opportunity to scare the living daylights out of us, earthquake experts in Washington remind us that this past Sunday was the 314th anniversary of the last megathrust quake in the  Cascadia Subduction Zone that would have wiped out a big part of Seattle and the infrastructure of the region had we all been there.

In this video an introduction to seafloor spreading, subduction and megathrust earthquakes are animated to allow for easier understanding of the topics using the Cascadia Subduction Zone (Juan de Fuca plate is being subducted under the North American Plate) as an example.

And we are due for another one. So, the Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup has updated its scenario document for what that magnitude of quake would do to us now. And it doesn’t look so great! (SOURCE)

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