Good morning, Netizens…
The year was October 17, 1989, at 5:04
PM. I was standing in the San Francisco International Airport waiting
to catch a plane to Seattle, when the ground began to shake. In the
aftermath, I saw the damage throughout most of the Bay Area caused by
the 7.1 earthquake including the collapse of the Nimitz Freeway and
the damage in the Marina District of San Francisco first-hand, and it
formed a lasting impression upon me.
Over the last week, we have witnessed
earthquakes throughout the Pacific Ring of Fire, which encompasses
from New Zealand, Java and Sumatra approximately up through East Asia
and Japan, across the land bridge to Alaska and from thence down the
West Coast of the Americas to Antarctica. These quakes ranged from
8.0 or higher down to 4.0. The massive tsunami wave that hit portions
of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga was caused by an underwater
earthquake which was rated as an 8.0 to 8.3, and a second quake near
Sumatra and Indonesia which was rated as 7.9 on the Richter Scale.
The damages and loss of life throughout
the region was incredible.
The Cascadia fault line, which passes
through portions of Western Washington which has been active in the
past, and if such a quake as hit Samoa were to occur, what impact
would it have on our lives here in Spokane?
According to the USGS predictions, were
an 8.0 to hit the Cascadia fault line, life, such as we know it to be
in Seattle and the surrounding area, would quite possibly be severely
impacted, including the possibility of tsunami waves which could
reach all the way to Hawaii or beyond. Damages could easily reach
into the billions of dollars with commiserate loss of life. Depending
upon location, much of the Seattle-Tacoma region could be severely
damaged, if portions were not eliminated entirely, such as on the mud flats where the soil liquifies easily.
And Spokane? Here is where it gets a
bit speculative. Would we feel
an 8.0 centered in Seattle here in Spokane? Most-likely. However, a
great deal depends upon whether such a quake in Seattle could “set
off” a quake of say 4-5 on the Richter Scale here on our own fault
lines? That could hurt us.
of power for days, perhaps even a week.
to the water system throughout the city with resulting loss of water.
breakdown throughout a broad region.
and freeway disruption and/or damage.
of the railroad system, especially through the downtown core and the High Bridge trestle.
of human life.
such a scenario happen in Seattle? Could it happen HERE?
Are we prepared? Having seen first-hand what they have done for
Earthquake Preparedness in California, I would say we are not.