Scientists at Oregon State University who have made the latest study of the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, state
that this zone has experienced 4 major earthquakes in the past 1600 years, and there is a possibility the zone might have one or more events still in
store in the future. According to their studies the intervals in that zone between earthquakes is 300 years, and since the last major earthquake
occurred in 1700, the next event "might well be imminent."
"The Cascadia Subduction Zone has the longest recorded data about its earthquakes of any major fault in the world," said Chris Goldfinger, an
associate professor of marine geology at OSU and one of the leading experts on this fault zone. "So we know quite a bit about the periodicity of this
fault zone and what to expect. But the key point we don't know is whether the current cluster of earthquake activity is over yet, or does it have
another event left in it."
The two most recent major earthquakes on this fault occurred in the year 1700 and approximately the year 1500, Goldfinger said. Those two events were
only 200 years apart, and it's now been 305 years since the last one. From this perspective, there's some reason to believe the next major
earthquake could happen soon.
According to Goldfinger, there are remarkable geologic parallels between what just happened in East Asia and what could happen in the Pacific
Northwest. The Asian event happened where the India plate was being subducted beneath the Burma microplate, and it ruptured – for the first time since
1833 - along a 600-mile front that is just about the same length as the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
That earthquake happened as the Indian plate moved towards the northeast beneath Asia, just like the Juan de Fuca plate is in the Pacific Northwest
before it disappears beneath the North American plate.
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
According to Goldfinger there are two possibilities. I could be possible that we could be in a cluster of such earthquakes right now, or we might be
at the end of one. But if we are in one of these clusters, the next major earthquake to hit this region could be up at any time now.
The 1700 earthquake which occurred on January 26th of that year was probably a 9.0. This earthquake created big tsunami which hit Japan on January
28th 1700, it created a wave of about 10 feet high when it hit villages in Japan and lasted 18 hours. The link to this story can be found below.
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[edit on 31-12-2004 by Banshee]