Cascadia earthquake scenarios report is updated

Washington State Capitol
The Washington State Capitol was severely damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake that measured 6.8 magnitude — much smaller than the 9.0 magnitude expected someday from the Cascadia Subduction Zone fault. Photo: USGS.

It’s 8:16 on a chilly, wet morning in early spring. You’ve just arrived at work and are pouring a cup of coffee when you become hear a low rumbling noise. Within seconds, the rumbling becomes a roar, the floor beneath you heaves, and the building begins to pitch and shake so violently that you’re thrown to the floor. The roaring is joined by a cacophony of crashing as windows shatter and every unsecured object in the room—from the desk chair to the coffee pot—is sent flying. Shaken loose by the shuddering and jolting of the building, dust and ceiling particles drift down like snow. Then the lights flicker and go out. Remembering to “drop, cover, and hold,” you crawl under the nearest table, hold on tight, and tell yourself that the shaking should last only a few seconds more . . . but it goes on and on.

This is it: the Big One. The Cascadia subduction zone — a 700-mile-long fault lying mostly off our shore — has just unleashed a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

Are you prepared?

If a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia earthquake and the likely tsunami accompanying it were to strike tomorrow, the impacts to our region will be severe and the recovery lengthy.

How severe and how lengthy?

The newly updated report, “Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquakes: A Magnitude 9.0 Earthquake Scenario,” examines how the Pacific Northwest may fare after the next great ‘megathrust’ earthquake and tsunami. Authored by a public-private sector public and private sector, the report conveys the most current scientific and emergency planning information. The information is not just for scientists and emergency planners. If you live anywhere in Northern California, Oregon, Washington or British Columbia, and especially west of the Cascade Mountains, this downloadable report will be informative and helpful reading.

This Thursday (10/17) at 10:17 a.m. is The Great Washington Shake Out earthquake drill. Hundreds of thousands of individuals, businesses, governmental agencies (including DNR offices in Olympia) and schools in Washington State are taking part. What about you?

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