Cascadia Prepares for the Megaquake

The Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) is a 700-mile-long area off the Pacific Coast where the North American Tectonic Plate meets the Juan de Fuca plate. Researchers have found that these two converging plates produce a megaquake with a magnitude of 9.0 every 500 years or so as one plate slips from built up pressure and gives way to the other, dropping about a meter where it begins the process yet again.  

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The side effects to such an event are predicted to be catastrophic. An earthquake of this magnitude is predicted to cause large scale destruction to bridges, roads, buildings and communication while also having the capacity to cause a large scale tsunami to hit the Cascadia region. 

According to the Seattle Times, in response to this seismic threat to our region, nearly 20,000 people will be conducting a Pacific Northwest megaquake readiness exercise called 'Cascadia Rising' that will be held from June 7-10. The exercise will be the largest to ever be conducted in preparation for a Cascadia Megaquake and will include various emergency and military personnel. 

The exercise is meant to bring together those who would potentially be involved in the emergency response if such an event were to occur so that our region can be as prepared as possible for such a catastrophe. Many say that we are far behind in our preparation for such an event and that this kind of collaboration and preventative care is crucial to preparing for the resilience, protection, and safety to the inhabitants of our bioregion.  

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Katie Smith

Katie Smith is a senior at the University of Washington studying communications and anthropology. She has a passion for learning about other people’s life experiences, interests, and perspectives. Katie recently joined the Cascadia team as a contributor to help keep members up to date with the latest information about the Cascadia movement.