Warning MEGA QUAKE Will Destroy The Pacific Northwest- When? 

According to CBS NEWS, scientists they say it's a question of when — not IF — a devastating earthquake, followed by a huge tsunami, strikes the continental United States, right in the Pacific Northwest. It's a threat the government says it's taking seriously. 

In an effort to help understand the impacts of future earthquakes and large scale natural disasters, the Cascadia Region Earthquake Work-group (CREW) put together a simulation for Northern CA through British Columbia, Canada. The main focus group is Oregon right now, but perhaps their regional neighbors will also find this tool useful in planning. The scenario authored by CREW reviews why the Cascadia region is so prone to earthquakes and also predicts when future events are likely to occur.

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A supposed 9.0 on the Richter scale ripped through the same region back in 1700, and while there was not much happening back then, an earthquake of that magnitude would have incredibly devastating impacts today. This is due to the fact that the Juan de Fuca plate meets the North American plate in this area and is referred to as Cascadia subduction zone.Earthquakes generated here have far more wide spread effects than other types of quakes in the region, a lot of it has to do with the size of the fault line which is around 800 miles long. 

Aside from the a violent earthquake, this region could be impacted by a subduction zone generated tsunami which would cause more damage along the coastline, not only to people but also the habitats in the region. A host of other disasters could be triggered, from landslides to ground liquification and fires to anthropogenic disasters such as hazardous material spills to power outages, utility failures which will only add to the devastation and could produce further impacts such as a disease outbreak if not handled quickly (utility problems, standing water, unsanitary conditions and so forth). 

In reading the material for the region, it was stressed that inland areas were feeling fairly well prepared, but the more exposed coastal regions, not so much. How could an area, when faced with so many possible disasters ( and occurring almost one after the other in the worst case), possibly prepare effectively? 

Because the area is prone to frequent quakes, Oregon has a state wide preparedness day called the "great Oregon Shakeout," and anyone can sign up to participate. This year has a total of 201,144 participants, while not the greatest turnout for a preparedness day is definitely better then zero.


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RELATED : Powerful 6.4 Earthquake strikes off New Zealand Coast


Don’t be surprised to see plenty of military vehicles over the next few days.

What is being described as the largest drill ever for a mega-quake in the Pacific Northwest kicked off Tuesday morning.

Federal officials say about 20,000 people will be involved in the disaster drill, representing various federal agencies, the U.S. military, state and local emergency response managers across the Pacific Northwest, Native American tribes and emergency management officials in British Columbia. 

Ken Murphy, FEMA’s regional director, told what scares him about “The Big One” are the two major unknowns: aftershocks and tsunamis.

“The tsunami: Will it happen?” Murphy said. “I don’t know (when), but science tells us it will. We don’t know how high the water’s going to be, we don’t know how fast the water is going to move toward the coastline. The other thing you don’t know is, when you have the earthquake happen, part of your coastline can either rise up or sink based on the earth’s movement. That scares me because there’s simply not enough time. Some of our coastal communities have some geography where you can get to higher elevation relatively quick. Others not.”

As for aftershocks, Murphy worries about how many will hit. It could be one, or it could be like Japan in 2011 when there were hundreds of aftershocks that lasted months after the big shake. It’s the secondary impacts of the shaking that can be debilitating.

“We as a community are trying to rebuild and we have an aftershock,” he said.

FEMA along with other agencies in Washington state are currently in the midst of the largest ever earthquake and tsunami drill — a stark reminder that the mega-quake can happen at any moment and that people need to be prepared. And it’s a terrifying prospect for Rantz, who ranks his biggest fear as alien abduction, followed by dying alone and an earthquake that happens out of nowhere.

A 9.0-magnitude earthquake will eventually hit the Pacific Northwest. Officials can prepare for that. But it’s what is unknown that can be scary for officials, such as FEMA.

Murphy says preparing for a mega-quake is tricky business, but that people can keep themselves relatively safe by following a few simple guidelines.

“I tell people we don’t know if it’s going to happen tomorrow or it could be a couple hundred years, but I think the important part is that these kinds of things are survivable,” he said. “I think we really will be in good shape and we’re going to need people to take … initiative personally and professionally because there will not be enough police, firefighters or anybody to come take care of everybody.”

As for the thousands who could be displaced by a major earthquake and tsunami, Murphy says Idaho could become a sanctuary.

“We are working with [Idaho officials] to make sure they are prepared for the potential large numbers of people that could be moved to Idaho for medical care; could be moved to Idaho to live for a while,” Murphy explained.

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Video footage shows what is called by many locals "Super Waves" which are in reality mini-tsunami's. When will the big one hit? 
Specifically, FEMA anticipates the following scenario:
3,000 schools will collapse or be compromised throughout the Puget Sound region
1/2 of all highway bridges will collapse
1/3 of all rail lines will be destroyed
1/3 of all fire stations will be inoperable
1/2 of all police stations will be compromised
2/3 of hospitals will be damaged
90% of all port facilities destroyed
In additional, all airport runways are expected to be severely damaged.
Since the Cascadian subduction zone lies about 50 miles off-shore of Washington and Oregon, the resulting tsunami will strike land within ten-fifteen minutes. At the beginning, a wall of water about 15-20 feet high will inundate miles of coastline. Then, the seismic waves will push ever-greater plateaus of water every 60 seconds or so, for an hour, peaking with a surge of 35-40 feet. As a result, most coastal areas in Washington will be obliterated, and FEMA predicts that the urban areas of Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores and Westport will experience a “total wash over,” producing a complete loss of life. Speculation exists that the tsunami may travel up river valleys as far as Chehalis, placing some saltwater onto I-5.

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