“The Big One”: The Cascadia Subduction Zone

Photo credits: Jasper Welly

Portland lies on the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600 mile fault that is about 70 miles off of the Pacific coast it runs from northern California to British Columbia. The Cascadia Subduction Zone has been an active fault for more then ten thousand years. The Cascadia Subduction Zone, will affect Portland when an earthquake hits.

There is a fourteen percent chance that The Cascadia Subduction zone will get an earthquake in the next fifty years. Tectonic shaking in the plates that make up the Cascadia Subduction Zone will cause the region of Portland to shake. The earthquake will hit Portland, and forever change the region. Portland is a city known for our beautiful bridges and diverse architecture. Unfortunately, under a high magnitude earthquake, most of our bridges will no longer stand. The Broadway, Hawthorne, Interstate, Ross Island, and Steel bridge will all collapse under a major earthquake. Five out of fourteen major bridges in Portland that will no longer stand in our city. Earthquakes usually last for a few minutes. Portland is expected to get a 9.0 magnitude earthquake which will last around four to five minutes.

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Picture: Jasper Welly

One of the most important things about earthquakes is being prepared, the more supplies you have the more prepared you will be. In an earthquake kit, you should have water that will last you three days when tap water will no longer be a viable option. When the earthquake hits, we will need a hearty supply of food to keep us nourished. Ointment, bandages, soap, and gloves are all important things to have in an earthquake kit.

Magnitude 2.0 earthquakes occur several hundred times a day. A massive earthquake(greater than 7.0) occur around once a year. Recently, earthquakes in El Palmarcito, Mexico has given Portland residents a warning sign for when the big one hits home. The earthquakes in El Palmarcito displaced 438,298 people. The community in  El Palmarcito has been working together to work on rebuilding their town, and lives. Not only are the recent earthquakes in Mexico making people rebuild their community.

When the earthquake hits Portland many houses and buildings will forever be destroyed, our community may only have the memories we make right now. Starting over will be hard, but not impossible, living in constant fear of when the earthquake will hit, will fill your life with panic and fear. Portland will have to start recovery efforts as soon as it hits, but we will work together as a city and state to be stronger than before.

Living in the Cascadia Subduction Zone could mean big destruction of our entire lives.Our community will forever be changed. Living in constant fear that the “big one” will hit at any second, we will live boring lives filled with fear and constant paranoia. Communication with your family and neighbors will help you have a plan. Life in Portland will definitely have changes, from the bridges to the tall buildings downtown. We will never be the same, but we will be united together. Our community will be stronger and united in the rebuilding efforts. Being prepared will help our community win the big one hits.

Works Cited

“Cascadia Subduction Zone.” Oregon Hazards and Preparedness, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, http://www.oregon.gov/oem/hazardsprep/Pages/Cascadia-Subduction-Zone.aspx. Accessed 3 Oct. 2017.

House, Kelly. “Everyday People: Portland’s Hawthorne Bridge operator has corner office with 360-degree views.” The Oregonian, Oregon Live, 12 June 2012, http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/06/portlands_hawthorne_bridge_ope.html.

Meyer, Robinson. “A Major Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest Looks Even Likelier.” The Atlantic, 11 Aug. 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/08/a-major-earthquake-in-the-pacific-northwest-just-got-more-likely/495407/.

Allen, Richard. “Seconds Before the Big One: Progress in Earthquake Alarms.” Scientific American, 11 Mar. 2011, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/tsunami-seconds-before-the-big-one/.