earthquakes

MUSTAFA LAZKANI / FEMA

Thousands of old, brick buildings in the Northwest are especially prone to collapsing in a big earthquake.

Now, researchers at the University of British Columbia say they’ve come up with a cheap way to reinforce such buildings.

Vulnerability assessments by utilities and emergency planners along the U.S. West Coast suggest it could be weeks or a month or more before water service gets restored after a major earthquake - not to mention electricity, sewage treatment and fuel supply too. The social and economic disruption does not have to be that bad though, given adequate preparedness and investments in critical infrastructure as demonstrated in Japan.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Public schools in Washington state would be encouraged, but not required, to hold at least one earthquake drill per year under a measure scheduled for the governor's signature tomorrow.

The state of Oregon has announced a new round of taxpayer-funded grants to help schools and other public buildings better withstand a major earthquake.

Earthquake Warning System Expands Pilot

Apr 10, 2017
Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Washington state is one step closer to an earthquake warning system. “ShakeAlert” can warn about an earthquake between a few seconds to a couple minutes before it happens. 

Big earthquakes happen infrequently enough in the Northwest that people can be lulled into complacency. That’s not the case in Japan.

Most large Japanese cities have at least one disaster training center, where people can learn in realistic simulators what to do in an earthquake, typhoon or fire. Leaders from the Pacific Northwest who have seen these centers say it’s a concept worth copying.

The report cards are in and it's not pretty if you worry about how you'll fare after a magnitude 9 Cascadia megaquake and tsunami. Washington and Oregon's emergency management divisions have now published after-action reviews of last June's multi-state disaster drill called Cascadia Rising .

An Oregon agency is proposing two new earthquake proof buildings near the state Capitol in Salem to ensure government continuity after a Magnitude 9 offshore mega quake. The state buildings would have solar power and backup generators, independent water and sewage systems, and shock absorbers under the foundation.

Washington state is playing catch-up compared to other West Coast states on earthquake preparedness. A "subcabinet" of state agency directors convened by Gov. Jay Inslee will hold its first public meeting Tuesday afternoon to review possible actions to improve.

Ray Bouknight / Flickr

The Federal government has allocated $3.7 million for an earthquake early warning system for the west coast. The U.S. Geological Survey awarded additional grant money to the University of Oregon.

AUSTIN JENKINS / Northwest News Network

Parachutes and MASH tents might be the Northwest’s best hope in the face of a 9.0 earthquake and coastal tsunami. This week emergency responders in Washington, Oregon and Idaho are practicing for a subduction zone quake.

Yakima Valley Emergency Management Office

If a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit Washington state, people in the central and eastern parts of the state would not be the hardest hit, but survival would not be a walk in the park either. That’s why emergency organizers east of the Cascade Mountains are preparing to handle that kind of disaster. 

Planes and parachutes might be the best bet for getting supplies to cut-off areas in the event of a subduction zone earthquake. National Guard pilots and paratroopers practiced supply drops and parachute jumps Thursday.

The state of Oregon has updated its master plan for what to do in case of a major earthquake and tsunami.

Congressman Calls For Earthquake Warning System For NW

Jul 28, 2015
U.S. Geological Survey

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

Engineer Calls Oregon Earthquake Investment 'A Start'

Jul 14, 2015

The Oregon Legislature made its largest-ever investment for earthquake improvements this past session, but experts say the state still has a long way to go.

Amidst further downsizing confirmed by the U.S. Army Thursday, the Washington National Guard got good news. The Guard’s 81st Armored Brigade announced it will shed its heavy tanks and armor to convert into a more nimble Stryker configuration.

Any parent of a rambunctious youngster can tell you trouble might be afoot when things go quiet in the playroom. Two independent research initiatives indicate there is a comparable situation with the Cascadia earthquake fault zone.

Comic Book Aims For Earthquake Preparedness

Aug 22, 2014
Dark Horse Comics

Emergency managers in Oregon have a new tool to educate the public about earthquake preparedness. It's a comic book co-produced by one of the nation's top comic book publishers.

Horemu / Wikimedia Commons

Research geologists just finished a field trial to test a less invasive way to complete seismic hazard surveys. The federal scientists attempted to map an earthquake fault under Seattle simply by listening for underground echoes from all the noise we humans create at the surface.

New Earthquake Maps Are Out

Jul 17, 2014
usgs

The U.S. Geological Survey published its first updated earthquake maps in six years Thursday. The new maps show higher risks in the Pacific Northwest. The new maps are a synthesis of new research and up-to-date modeling techniques, applied to seismic hazards across the country.

An estimated 1.2 million people in the Northwest took part in an international earthquake drill Thursday.

Tom Kleindinst

A storied research sub that explored and filmed the wreck of the Titanic is making an appearance in the Northwest. The deep-diving submarine "Alvin" is in Astoria Monday,  August 26 through Friday, August 30 while its support ship changes crews. It's actually one of two well-known submersibles passing through the port town.

3.6 Earthquake Felt By Gig Harbor Science Teacher

Aug 20, 2013

An earthquake measuring 3-point-6 was felt on the Key Peninsula this morning. The University of Washington Seismology Lab says the quake happened around 11:40 and was centered some 15 miles west of Tacoma.

Matt Cooper / University of Oregon

This week a research ship is retrieving dozens of seismometers that have spent the last year on the ocean floor off the Northwest coast. Earthquake scientists hope the data they're about to get will shed more light on the structure of the offshore Cascadia fault zone. That plate boundary will be the source of the Big One whenever it rips.

USGS

The earthquake and tsunami threat to the Northwest from the offshore Cascadia fault was in the news in multiple ways Thursday. Canadian researchers have reconstructed a prehistoric record of great earthquakes on that shared fault. It reconfirms that we're due for another Big One. Coincidentally in Oregon, tsunami preparedness is getting a renewed look.

Nilfanion / Wikimedia Commons

The Blue whale is believed to be the largest animal ever to exist. But nobody remembers number two. Fin whales are the second largest animals on the planet, weighing in at around 80 tons. And they’re very mysterious creatures. Now scientists have gained better access to the giant whale’s secret lives – almost accidentally.

NOAA

As Superstorm Sandy barreled down on the East Coast Sunday, there was a massive earthquake off the coast of British Columbia. It didn’t get much attention. But both events were reminders to prepare for the long-term impacts of natural disasters. That’s the message coming out of a regional conference in Portland this week.

Photo Credit: Brian Atwater

Researchers have found fresh evidence of 26-foot-high tsunami waves that washed more than three miles in to the Olympic Peninsula.

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