Scientists studying the “Cascadia subduction zone,” a 600-mile stretch along the coast where one of Earth’s massive crustal plates is forced down and under another were able to discover a wide array of clues that support the pattern of mega-quakes. They studied the oral histories of Native Americans and historical records of past tsunamis that struck Japan. They looked at sediment deposits in underwater areas that revealed massive “ghost forests” of drowned trees, sunken during previous ‘quakes.
The dates all line up, showing the ghost forests of trees suddenly sank up to 6 feet when the area was flooded with seawater. The collected data were assembled and analyzed to create a RIFT model, which stands for Real-Time Forecasting of Tsunamis.
In the simulation, blue to green points indicate low tsunami hazard, while red, at the other end of the scale show severe hazard areas. Of course, that’s just the effect on coastal waters. What makes this Cascadia earthquake so potentially deadly is that it’s much stronger than one along the San Andreas fault.
‘Cascadia can make an earthquake almost 30 times more energetic than the San Andreas to start with,’ Chris Goldfinger, a professor of geophysics at Oregon State University told CNN.
‘Then it generates a tsunami at the same time, which the side-by-side motion of the San Andreas can’t do’.
Next, learn more about the potential devastation from the mega-quake: