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This rendition of an OSU tsunami shelter prototype shows a large multi-story building on stilts, likely to lessen the impac of the base of a tidal wave crashing through its vicinity.  (Source: Oregon State University)
Shake, rattle, roll and splash -- major seismic event could ravage the pacific northwest twice over.

There have been no shortage of powerful and often, sometimes catastrophically, deadly earthquakes in the past ten years. Sumatra, Haiti, Japan, Chile and more have suffered to various degrees from the results of plate tectonics and the roiling seas of magma far below the surface of the planet. Though, in the US, California has a reputation for being earthquake-friendly, it is a far cry from the only threatened west coast state.

Based on data collected from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which lies off the west cost of North America and runs from northern California up to British Columbia, Oregon State University marine geologist Chris Goldfinger and team says the chance of a quake of high magnitude, 8 or better, is unsettlingly high in the next fifty years. Using telltale signs of seismic activity, they have mapped out a time line of major events for the last 10,000 years. As it turns out, the pacific northwest is about due for a major earthquake.

According to their findings, the Cascadia has already gone past the 75% mark as far as a major event within a generally rhythmic period of time. Over the past 10,000 years, they have found evidence of 41 large events, spaced at roughly 500 year intervals. Should no event occur in the next 50 years, the chances jump to 85%. There is no doubt, feels Goldfinger, that the event is coming -- it's just a matter of time.

At present, he states there is an approximately 37% chance that a magnitude 8 or greater quake will hit the southern section of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which runs from northern California to near Newport, Oregon, in the next 50 years. Further north, the chance of an event is less -- 10% to 15% -- but with a better chance of being much stronger, magnitude 9 or greater.

Not all of the west coast is oblivious to this sleeping giant. Not only would a sizable off-shore event cause the standard stand-in-a-doorway building rumbling action, it would most certainly create a powerful tsunami in its wake. The last recorded high magnitude quake from the Cascadia was in 1700. Though no records exist from the Americas, Japanese historians recorded the ocean-traversing tsunami that reached their shore, crashing down at 30 or more feet in height.

The town of Cannon Beach, Oregon, is working with engineers from OSU to create an earthquake and tsunami shelter for its residents using advanced construction techniques and an eye for vertical space to stand above the wave. If completed, it may be the first tsunami shelter built outside of Japan.

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RE: Bias? Fishiness?
By atlmann10 on 5/25/2010 2:11:58 PM , Rating: 2
The Yellowstone addition to this discussion is the best point I have seen. Many do not realize that Yellowstone, or at the area underneath it is classified as a Super Volcano. If there is a major plate shift which opens it up I would not want to be living anywhere (within at least a 500 mile range) of it! A super volcano is a very, very bad thing.

So if there is a major tectonic plate shift in the area, which raises the probability of Yellowstone active behavior, then it could very well change the entire earth environment substantially. From evidence I have seen a mini ice age would most likely be the result. This is also not to mention the instant destruction range of at least a 500 mile circumference of Yellowstone.

While that is bad the ash and environmental disturbance caused by it would be even more substantial. Here is a link ( one study of it as well as many more related links. Basically if we have a major tectonic shift that affect's the area, and therefore causes this it will change the entire USA to a large extent. I will just say I live in Georgia, of which I am glad in respect to this. As Georgia would be out of the directly affected area.

However; active eruption of Yellowstone would change the world completely for quite some time (probably directly affecting at least a few thousand years), so let us all hope fervently that this does not happen. Although it is still an almost inevitable thing (as it is many thousand years overdue from what is known.

RE: Bias? Fishiness?
By clovell on 5/26/2010 10:39:47 AM , Rating: 2
> The Yellowstone addition to this discussion is the best point I have seen.

The discussion was about statistics and modelling. All you're saying is that if there's tectonic activity, the volcano will likely erupt. The discussion we're dealing with here is the premise of your arguement above. You're begging the question.

Nobody's denying that tectonic activity would do that. We're talking about whether expecting this level of tectonic activity is reasonable and warranted.

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