Just in case you missed it…and you probably did…FEMA Will Hold A Drill To Prepare For A 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake And Tsunami next week.
Just in case you missed it…and you probably did…there is a gargantuan, 700 mile long quake-maker referred to as the Cascadia Subduction Zone that rests at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the American northwest where the seabed meets the North American tectonic plate. According to experts, this behemoth has the potential to unleash the worst natural disaster in the history of North America should it rupture entirely.
The “Cascadia” has already shown it’s power and it has a violent history. According to this CNN story, on January 26, 1700, Cascadia unleashed one of the biggest quakes in world history that triggered a tsunami so large that it raced across the Pacific and swallowed coastal villages in Japan. You’ve probably heard of the San Andreas fault, but it’s nothing compared to the monster that is the CSZ. The CSZ has the potential to rip off a 9.0 magnitude quake, almost 30 times more energetic than anything the San Andreas could unleash, not to mention the subsequent tsunami that would be generated at the same time. The CSZ holds so much more power because it is a subduction fault, whereas the San Andreas is a slip fault. With a slip fault, the two land masses slide past one another causing an earthquake that is fairly short in duration. In a subduction zone, one of the earth’s tectonic plates is being forced downward into the earth as the colliding plate slides over the top of the first plate. These plates get “hung up” occasionally allowing stress to build up along the fault as the top plate is pulled down with the lower plate. When the stress becomes too great, the top plate “snaps” back to it’s normal position releasing a tremendous….almost incomprehensible….amount of energy. This snapping action creates a terrifyingly violent shaking that can last three to five minutes, far longer than the 15-30 seconds of shaking you may be used to in other earthquakes in California. As if the shaking weren’t enough, as the plate “snaps” back it simultaneously lifts the ocean above it triggering a devastating tsunami. The last time the Cascadia ruptured, the coast of the North American plate dropped about 5 feet! Think for just a second and imagine the size and unrelenting ferocity of the tsunami wave that would have been created by that type of land mass dislocation.
According to the official flyer for the event, “Over 50 counties, plus major cities, tribal nations, state and federal agencies, private sector businesses, and non-governmental organizations across three states – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho – will be participating in the four-day Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise.”
U.S Northern Command is getting in on the act as well, holding five other exercises simultaneously. The final Cascadia Rising 2016 drill plan tells us those five exercises are entitled “Ardent Sentry 2016″, “Vigilant Guard”, “Special Focus Exercise”, “Turbo Challenge” and “Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore”, all of which focus on a scenario that involves a magnitude 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone followed by a giant tsunami that could displace up to a million people from northern California to southern Canada.
The United States is a continental country and the Cascadia Subduction Zone represents a North American sized disaster and national threat. Even if you do not live in the great northwest or have family that does, it would be wise to maintain a wary eye cast in that direction. When the CSZ fully ruptures again, even if you don’t feel the shaking, every American will feel the impacts.