Crazymaking news

When I moved up to Oregon in 1999, I thought I was escaping the threat of earthquakes. People in Salem, Oregon where I settled were so lax about the threat of the big shakers that many residents did not strap in their water heaters. It was the earthquake preparedness equivalent of living in a place where you never locked the doors at night.

A few years after moving I was watching a NOVA program on PBS and first learned of the existence of the Cascadia fault. Considering that Salem is about an hour away from the coast and that the Cascadia fault is over a hundred miles offshore, I did not worry.

Apparently neither did the New York Times. In this graphic printed on April 30, 2011, the esteemed newspaper showed that from a natural disaster standpoint, the entire Pacific Northwest was the safest spot in the whole country in which to live.

Then comes a story in the June 20, 2015 issue of The New Yorker virtually predicting the most catastrophic earthquake-tsunami in U.S. history.

Guess where it is. You’ve had lots of clues. It’s not California.

There are no guarantees. Life is a crap shoot. But I found it interesting how two well-established information sources could not be farther apart in assessing a very significant risk issue.



2 thoughts on “Crazymaking news

  1. N℮üґ☼N☮☂℮ṧ says:

    LOL — I read about that, too, this past week. Then I looked further into it, and based on the history of catastrophic m9 earthquakes in your area, it could happen between now and 2600.

    “Historically, the frequency of major earthquakes in the region is about one every 300 years, which means we’re overdue for a megaquake if you average the past 10,000 years of Northwest geology. But the spacing between past magnitude-9 quakes was between 200 and 900 years. If the fault system maintains that pattern, the next big one could happen again tomorrow or in the year 2600. There’s no way to know.

    Never hurts to be prepared, though.

    • Joshua Bagby says:

      Victoria, thanks for the link! I had not seen that one. It does put a different slant on the scary story. Yes, it never hurts to be prepared, as you say.

      In the aftermath of the Loma Prieta quake, which was just under M7, it took about a week for the primary recovery effort. We had electricity, though, by the following day. I was living in San Jose at the time. Except for the areas of real devastation, life was back to normal fairly soon.

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