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British Columbia however is part of rigid North America and moves with it. This results in the Puget Lowland being compressed and warped like an accordion with alternating uplifted and down warped terrain shortening the distance between Centralia, Washington, and the Canadia border. Dr. Ray Wells of the USGS developed a model to demonstrate this process and produced the cartoon animation located above the GPS Vector map.
Our work does suggest that a large event is more likely to start in either the northern or southern sections of the fault, where the plates are more fully locked, and gives a possible reason for why that may be the case.
The cause for concern is what happens when the Juan de Fuca plate eventually submerges under the much larger Pacific plate. For approximately 330 years, the plate has continuously been pushed down, an activity that will eventually lead it to be pushed under the North America plate, causing the region to sink six feet on the minimum and may result in one of the largest earthquakes in human history.
If the entire 650-mile long Cascadia Subduction Zone (which includes the Juan de Fuca plate) were to experience a full rupture, it could not only trigger a 9.0 earthquake, but a tsunami as well.
The Juan De Fuca plate stretches from Northern California to British Columbia and the Cascadia Subduction Zone stretches from N. Vancouver Island to Cape Mendicino, California.