Forget San Andreas: Why You Should Be Worried About the Cascadia Subduction Zone

Wow, this article is… well, it’s something else. Written by Kathryn Schulz, The Really Big One is an eye-opening (and if I’m being honest – terrifying) look at the Cascadia subduction zone.

While the general population is familiar with the San Andreas fault, the Cascadia subduction zone is less well-known… mostly because scientists didn’t even know about it 45 years ago.

The estimates of what might happen as a result of a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami are staggering:

When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America. Roughly three thousand people died in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. Almost two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina. Almost three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy. FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami.

While the damage itself is scary, what’s even scarier is the fact that Cascadia’s caused earthquakes in the past. This is all a matter of when. Not if, when. By all accounts, we are due for another earthquake and we are woefully underprepared for it:

Counting from the earthquake of 1700, we are now three hundred and fifteen years into a two-hundred-and-forty-three-year cycle.

Chew on that one for a little while.

The Really Big One is an absolutely fascinating read, and well worth your time. Forget all the natural disaster movies out there – this one? This one is way scarier.

[via @bibliogrrl and MetaFilter, illustration by Christoph Niemann]

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. “Wineglasses, antique vases, Humpty Dumpty, hip bones, hearts: what breaks quickly generally mends slowly, if at all.”

    avoision Reply

  2. This was the scariest article I had read in a very, very long time.

    Meg Reply

  3. i’ll be right here, drinking a whiskey as my house crumbles around me. hopefully i can watch rainier blow as the shaking happens

    derrick Reply

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