Sue White

Numerology and disaster preparedness come together Thursday morning on a big scale. At 10:18 on 10/18, eight Western states along with British Columbia and other places are coordinating on an earthquake and tsunami drill. Nearly a million people are signed up to participate in the Northwest.

Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

Parts of Washington and Oregon are in the midst of silent earthquakes this week. You can't feel this so-called "slow slip" quake and it doesn't cause damage. Still, scientists want to learn more about the recently discovered phenomenon.

Photo by Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Central Washington was considered at low risk for earthquakes back when big hydropower dams went up on the Columbia River many decades ago. But a recently completed seismic hazard assessment has found greater earthquake potential for the area than previously thought. Now the dam owners have to figure out how to respond. Seismic retrofits could cost ratepayers across the region hundreds of millions of dollars. Correspondent Tom Banse has this exclusive report.

It's a question all of us face sooner or later: whether to spend a good chunk of money to protect against a catastrophe that has a very low chance of occurring. A workshop that just wrapped up in Corvallis considered that dilemma in the context of Northwest dams and a magnitude 9 earthquake. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Photo courtesy UW College of Engineering

Two major earthquakes last year raised red flags for the Northwest. Some of the damage from those quakes in Japan and New Zealand resulted from a phenomenon called liquefaction. This is when the ground turns to jello or quicksand. Transmission towers topple, buildings sink and utility pipes break. Now, geologists in the Northwest have mapped the spots most likely to liquefy here in an earthquake. Correspondent Tom Banse begins our story in Japan.

Photo by Shelly Pollock

More than 700 volunteers turned out Thursday to help pick up litter and flotsam on the Oregon and southwest Washington coasts. Volunteers were on alert for debris from last year's tsunami in Japan. There were some possible new finds on Long Beach, Washington. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

The fifth of July is a traditional beach cleanup day in Manzanita and Seaside, Oregon and on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. The coordinator of Manzanita's cleanup estimates the three dump truck loads hauled away were "99 percent fireworks" related.

Photo Credit: USGS / Northwest News Network

Geologists have discovered two previously unknown earthquake faults, and possibly a third, near Bellingham, Wash. The scientists working for the U.S. Geological Survey believe the shallow faults are capable of spawning damaging tremors.

Photo credit: Tim Melbourne, CWU / Northwest News Network

A prototype, earthquake early warning system, worked as designed when an actual quake gently shook California last Friday. Researchers reported the results Tuesday at the annual meeting of American seismologists.

Last year, a private foundation in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey gave a multimillion dollar grant to create an automated earthquake warning system for the Pacific Coast states. The idea is to provide advance notice to prepare people for severe shaking. It could come via a cell phone alert or a pop-up on your computer or TV screen.

Photo credit: Chris Noland / Northwest News Network

An Everett, Washington, man is excited for the U.S. premiere Friday of his documentary about last year’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan. The first-hand account will also get its Canadian premiere in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday night, almost precisely one year after the disaster. Correspondent Anna King has his story.

Photo by Yumei Wang / DOGAMI

BELLINGHAM -- Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The tsunami destruction and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown garner the most attention. There was another cause of suffering in Japan's quake zone. In some places, you couldn't get gasoline for weeks to fuel cars and generators. The Pacific Northwest is prone to the same kind of earthquake. Correspondent Tom Banse reports emergency planners say this region's fuel supply lines are vulnerable.