Cascadia Subduction Zone severely under-monitored, Seismologists say

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With the potential of a destructive earthquake hitting Western Washington at any moment, seismologists are becoming increasingly worried about the lack of earthquake-tracking technology offshore.

That’s why many of these scientists are submitting a proposal to add new sensors below the ocean floor.

Cascadia Subduction Zone map, Cascadia Subduction Zone map 2019
Cascadia Subduction Zone map

A catastrophic M8 – M9.0 earthquake could happen at anytime here in Western Washington.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone lies offshore of the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. It’s that fault line that could produce “the Big One.”

The fault will start showing us signals before the earthquake occurs, things we would call precursors to the earthquake,” said Harold Tobin, the director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.

He says the giant fault line offshore is severely under-monitored. That’s why he and other scientists submitted a proposal this month to get four new sensors offshore of Oregon, each drilled a thousand feet below the sea floor.

The recent proposal was submitted to an agency called the International Ocean Drilling Program.

This video shows the earthquakes of Cascadia between 1979 and 2019:

This project will likely take several stages, millions of dollars and many years to be completed, if it’s even approved in the first place. Hopefully it’s not too late by then.

Tobin says this proposal is just the start. They want to add dozens more monitors along the West Coast after this. “Certainly it will help us do a better job of early warning when the earthquake starts nd for a potential tsunami,” said Tobin.

There’s a 15% chance this kind of massive earthquake could strike the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the next 50 years. But remember, there are dozens of other faults that could also trigger large and damaging earthquakes in this area. [KomoNews]

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