Cascadia Subduction Zone

September is National Preparedness Month and a series of emergency response events has been taking place across the state. Tomorrow (Tuesday) congressman Peter DeFazio will host an earthquake early warning roundtable at the U of O.

As the ranking member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congressman DeFazio introduced a federal bill to fund an earthquake early warning system for the west coast. The roundtable is an official committee hearing. Scott Ashford, Dean of Engineering at OSU, studies the effects to utilities and services in an emergency:

Karen Richards

A recent article in the New Yorker and the July Fourth earthquake near Springfield have generated concern for the potential of a massive Cascadia event in the Northwest. Scientists at the U of O have been working to strengthen Oregon’s early warning systems.


Oregon's Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio Tuesday introduced a bill to fund an earthquake early warning system for the Pacific Northwest.

The system would trigger automatic shutdowns of trains, manufacturing lines, close bridges and evacuate students from unsafe schools.

DeFazio says the system could save thousands of lives in the case of a major earthquake and tsunami.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries published a tsunami guide for fisherman, mariners and boaters on Tuesday. The recent earthquakes off the coast of Oregon did not produce any tsunamis, but the guide lets boaters know how they should be prepared.

The guide is brand new says Ali Ryan with the department of Geology. She says depending on where boaters are in the event of a local or distant tsunami determines whether they should evacuate or go out to sea.

Some scientists say the Pacific Northwest is overdue for a massive earthquake. In the past couple weeks, Business Oregon awarded grants to schools and emergency services for seismic upgrades. But, the Governor and others want to substantially increase that investment.

December 26 is the 10-year anniversary of the Boxing Day earthquake that struck off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management has stepped up preparations for a major quake here.

Oregon is located along the Cascadia Subduction zone, a fault capable of producing a major quake. Cory Grogan, with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management says it’s not a matter of if it’s a matter of when. New evacuation and tsunami inundation maps have been created and are vital to Oregon’s preparedness.

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Tiffany Eckert

When it comes to potential disasters in the Pacific Northwest, forest fires and floods are the most likely. Scientists at Oregon State University predict the Cascadia Earthquake--the “big one”-- will hit the region.  It could be in the next five minutes or next century. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert reports on regional disaster response efforts and how every citizen can prepare for a serious emergency.