Oregon ‘will be toast’ when next big earthquake hits

Northwest region is 72 years overdue for next big earthquake, experts say

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – One of Oregon’s top earthquake experts predicts the “really big one” will wipe out the entire Northwest. In fact, the area’s FEMA director said everything west of I-5 “will be toast”.

In The New Yorker article “The Really Big One”, Northwest FEMA Director Kenneth Murphy predicts 13,000 people will die in what’s referred to as the “Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami”. Another 2,500 people are expected to be hurt in the devastating quake. Continue reading

The Really Big One

An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.

When the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Japan, Chris Goldfinger was two hundred miles away, in the city of Kashiwa, at an international meeting on seismology. As the shaking started, everyone in the room began to laugh. Earthquakes are common in Japan—that one was the third of the week—and the participants were, after all, at a seismology conference. Then everyone in the room checked the time.

Seismologists know that how long an earthquake lasts is a decent proxy for its magnitude. The 1989 earthquake in Loma Prieta, California, which killed sixty-three people and caused six billion dollars’ worth of damage, lasted about fifteen seconds and had a magnitude of 6.9. A thirty-second earthquake generally has a magnitude in the mid-sevens. A minute-long quake is in the high sevens, a two-minute quake has entered the eights, and a three-minute quake is in the high eights. By four minutes, an earthquake has hit magnitude 9.0. Continue reading