The Northwest Seismic Center and NOAA have reported a couple of earthquakes off the coast of northern California and southern Oregon over the last couple of weeks. Neither one necessarily portends any specific likelihood of “The Big One” scientists have predicted for the last ten to twenty years. But just to be safe, have an emergency shelter tent ready to set up and a secure place to keep your food, medicines and important papers at the ready.
The two main shakers were July 29th straight off the California border with Oregon, and another one farther offshore to the northwest. Both quakes were 4.6 on the richter scale – but more tellingly – they originated deep in the earth’s crust where the Pacific and North American tectonic plates have been wrestling with each other since time immemorial. OSU Geophysics Professor Chris Goldfinger predicts another “Big One” will occur in our lifetime because these stress-relieving quakes occur every 250 to 350 years. Subtract 1700 from today’s 2017 and you get 317 years since the last quake.
The chart below was created by data gathered by sediment core samples off the Vancouver Island, Washington and Oregon coasts. The red lines indicate earthquakes whose signatures were revealed in core samples taken by Professor Goldfinger in a lengthy research expedition that lasted a couple of years.
The timeline runs from 8,000 BC to 2,000 AD. Professor Goldfinger says predicting earthquakes can be a very inexact science but he points to the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes on the timeline and anyone can see that there’s a pattern.
Again, the key is being prepared. Shelter either in place or in designated gathering areas.
It will be a life changing event.
For all the information you’ll probably ever need on how to prepare for a big earthquake and the ensuing tsunami, the Lincoln County Office of Emergency Management has all the info. All you have to do is click here.