Sleepless in Seattle

In the news again, the Cascadian Subduction Zone has become a hot topic among those interested in disaster and emergency preparedness, including public officials, as research continues into the risks associated with a seismic event.

Speaking to Statesman Journal, Evelyn Roeloffs, a research geophysicist with the U. S. Geological Survey office in Vancouver, Washington, talked of the potential damage in the event of a major quake in the region: “An earthquake as large as a magnitude 9 Cascadia Subduction Zone quake will produce a shaking that will likely last three to five minutes. It will be much longer than any earthquake we’ve experienced historically in Washington and Oregon. We have lots of buildings and structures constructed before we were aware of the potential of CSZ quakes, and even though these might have survived smaller earthquakes, the longer the shaking, the more likely it will damage these older structures.”

In response to these potential risks, the Salem Statesman Journal is attempting to take the lead in encouraging public discussion of the event through the launch of a public-service journalism project titled the Think Big project. This project is intended to last a year, and offer advice on how to best prepare oneself to respond to a variety of disasters – whether natural or man-made.