Monday, January 26, 2015

Oregon officials observe 315th anniversary of Great Cascadia earthquake, ask "Are we ready?"

A woman surveys the debris in Kesennuma, Miyagi prefecture, Japan, following the devastating 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami on March 11, 2011. Photo by: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg News.

January 26 marks the anniversary of the last major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that shook the Pacific Northwest 315 years ago. Scientists predict the next major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake could strike our state at any time.

"Scientists believe Oregon is in the average window of time during which another massive, destructive quake could occur," said Althea Rizzo, Geologic Hazards Program Coordinator.

Oregon is located in the Cascadia Subduction Zone; a fault line stretching from offshore British Columbia to Northern California. Experts say a rupture on the Cascadia Fault line will likely result in a 9.0 or higher earthquake with the potential to devastate the area.

"A quake of this size will produce severe damage - buildings will be so damaged that restoring full utility service could take months to years," said Rizzo. "We are taking steps right now to prepare our state for a potential Cascadia earthquake."

Rizzo said new guidelines recommend individuals prepare an emergency kit for at least two weeks, prior recommendations were for a three day kit. There are helpful tips on preparing for disasters such as earthquakes, located on the website.

Photo: A massive magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Santiago Chile in the early morning on Feb. 27, 2010, killing at least 76 people, triggering a tsunami and rattling buildings more than 200 miles away. Photo courtesy of

"Highways may be down and electricity out for days making it critical for you to have enough supplies to sustain yourself for weeks," said Rizzo.

State and local government, private businesses and non-governmental organizations are doing much to prepare for the next Cascadia quake but individual preparedness is critical. There are many actions you can take to prepare for the next earthquake. Review the information below for more information.

Check out "Living on Shaky Ground: How toSurvive Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Oregon" published by Oregon Emergency Management:

OPB Radio is also currently running an informative series on the Cascadia earthquake, entitled "Unprepared: Will we be ready for the megaquake?"

For more information, contact Kim Lippert or Cory Grogan, Oregon Office of Emergency Management Public Information Office.

-- Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

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