Friday, September 4, 2015

More on the Cascadia Fault

Route Fifty - A Pacific Northwest Megaquake Will Test Government Response in Ways Katrina Never Did

While this article covers a lot of familiar ground, it also has some interesting new data, and a somewhat unique perspective.

I linked The Earthquake That Will Devastate the Pacific Northwest - The New Yorker when it was published; here is a follow-up: How to Stay Safe When the Big One Comes - The New Yorker. This one explains the dangers in more scientific terms, without  getting so technical that you need a PhD in Geology to explain it.

Also, note this key quote:
“You’re not overdue for an earthquake until you’re three standard deviations beyond the mean”—which, in the case of the full-margin Cascadia earthquake, means eight hundred years from now. (In the case of the “smaller” Cascadia earthquake, the magnitude 8.0 to 8.6 that would affect only the southern part of the zone, we’re currently one standard deviation beyond the mean.) That doesn’t mean that the quake won’t happen tomorrow; it just means we are not “overdue” in any meaningful sense. The odds I cite in the story are correct: there is a thirty-per-cent chance of the M8.08.6 Cascadia earthquake and a ten-per-cent chance of the M8.79.2 earthquake in the next fifty years.

And here is an OpEd from a recent Seatle Times about those two articles above: When disasters strike, poor, minority communities face greatest risks | The Seattle Times

Author is a social justice warrior scientist who can't help but see natural disasters in terms of people. Which is good. To a point. When you start denying that there is any such thing as a natural disaster, because the natural elements (wind, water, plate tectonics. etc.)  "interact with social environments to produce social outcomes", I think you're missing the point about preparedness.

For example, she bemoans the advice to bolt your home to it's foundation, because poor people live in apartments or rent, or own a home but can barely afford to live in Seattle, let alone make seismic upgrades.

Anyway. Related: Three Years After Japan’s Tsunami - The New Yorker

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