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Most Dangerous US Earthquake Hot Spots Beyond California




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The biggest earthquakes in the country are not in California. A much greater hazard, at least in terms of sheer magnitude, exists to the north of the San Andreas Fault where the ocean crust is being forced beneath the North American continent.

Known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone, this 680-mile long stretch of colliding land mass 50 miles offshore of Oregon, Washington state and southern British Columbia is capable of generating magnitude 9 earthquakes 30 times more powerful than the worst the San Andreas can dish out.

“There are lots of other earthquakes that may happen first, but they won’t be as big,” said marine geologist Chris Goldfinger of Oregon State University in Corvallis.

An earthquake of this size would completely devastate the region, which includes Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. There could be thousands of deaths and unprecedented damage for a quake in this country. Major travel routes will be impassable. The shaking could last a full four minutes, which would damage or bring down structures that could have survived a shorter duration.

On top of the danger from shaking, within minutes, a tsunami would likely inundate the low-lying coastal areas. Cascadia is the same type of fault that caused the 2004 Sumatra quake and tsunami.

via 5 Most Dangerous U.S. Earthquake Hot Spots Beyond California | Wired Science | Wired.com.

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