Study finds if March 11 Tohoku earthquake struck U.S. northwest coast, it would leave it in ruins

February 23, 2012SEATTLE Studies of last year’s giant Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan suggest that shaking from a Cascadia megaquake could be stronger than expected along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, researchers reported Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Scientists are still unraveling last year’s giant Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and some of what they’re finding doesn’t bode well for the Pacific Northwest. Detailed analyses of the way the Earth warped along the Japanese coast suggest that shaking from a Cascadia megaquake could be stronger than expected along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, researchers reported Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “The Cascadia subduction zone can be seen as a mirror image of the Tohoku area,” said John Anderson, of the University of Nevada. Anderson compiled ground-motion data from the Japan quake and overlaid it on a map of the Pacific Northwest, which has a similar fault — called a subduction zone — lying offshore. In Japan, the biggest jolts occurred underwater. The seafloor was displaced by 150 feet or more in some places, triggering the massive tsunami. But in the Northwest, it’s the land that will be rocked hardest — because the Pacific coast here lies so close to the subduction zone. “The ground motions that we have from Tohoku may actually be an indication that there could be much stronger shaking in the coastal areas of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon,” Anderson said. Cities like Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, B.C., are far enough from the coast that they might dodge the most violent hammering. But all of the urban areas sit on geologic basins that can amplify ground motion like waves in a bathtub. –Seattle Times
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6 Responses to Study finds if March 11 Tohoku earthquake struck U.S. northwest coast, it would leave it in ruins

  1. Lucie Sinclair says:

    Our local news reported this the other night and this story was a major topic of conversation around our dinner table , and we all came up with the same conclusion … Britsh Columbia is woefully unprepared to deal with the scale of devestation such an event would cause, hospitals , fire, police and like services are all centralized in areas that would be hit hard, there is little public education and people continue to migrate and build upon areas that would surely suffer catastrophic damage, Hopefully everyone that listened to that broadcast woke up the reality that exists!

    Like

  2. Karl says:

    Is this an actual prediction for an earthquake on March 11?

    Like

  3. jeff a. says:

    Hi Alvin,
    Checking in from Seattle here. Yep we are do for a big one, maybe it will hit far enough out in the Pacific to do little damage. I ain’t counting on it. I am a career iron worker and Seattle has been my project. I have worked on numerous buildings over 30 stories. let me say I don’t have much faith in modern building engineering. The streets of Seattle could very easily be covered in glass and facades from older buildings especially could come down, this is during a moderate 7+ earthquake.
    My advice if you work in a downtown metropolitan area to always have a good pair of shoes. Make absolutely sure to have a plan for an elevator core/stairway or even better yet an organizational/company emergency shelter plan. Don’t get out into the street. Way too many hazards out there. Be ready, but don’t panic, those that do panic have a much less chance. It just so happens that I have Red Cross shelter training this Saturday. I am part of the emergency preparedness network around here. If your area does this great!! look into it and support it. Chance always favors the prepared mind.
    Good luck and you can count on me to bring updates when it comes.
    Thank you Alvin for your consistent and supporting info. Your site is extremely valued in this household.

    Like

  4. mike says:

    I live up in this area…we would all appreciate your prayers.

    Like

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