Friday, July 17, 2015

The "Really Big One" is more likely to hit Seattle than LA or SF



The trendy fear among earthquake soothsayers these days is that the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and north, is more vulnerable to absolute devastation from earthquakes than is Los Angeles or San Francisco (as in the overwrought movie “San Andreas”).  Brad Plummer has a story in Vox here about the destruction and tsunami risk, link.

But Missouri news personality Dutchsinse on Facebook has said this before.

After all, Anchorage, Alaska experienced a 9.2 in 1964.


The frequency of huge quakes in the area may be low, once every few hundred years.  New Madrid, MO is comparable. On the other hand, volcanic eruptions of the Yellowstone supervolcano caldera are supposed to happen every few hundred thousand years (farther east each time), but we’re near the end of a cycle on Yellowstone, too.

A loss of usability of a major chunk of the country or of North America is possible. (Maybe even a pseudo-nuclear winter.)  How would an economy based on “free markets” work if a quarter of the real estate in the country is physically destroyed?  Would others “pitch in” with “radical hospitality”?  This is a question some terrorists or sovereign enemies know to ask, too.

Wikipedia attribution link for Cascade volcanic arc (NASA, p.d. ) 
   

During the past weekend Florida trip (diagonally across the country), I did drive to Tampa Monday, and a little bit through the neighborhoods subject to sinkholes.  I didn’t see any, but I can imagine what it is like to live with that kind of unpredictable risk.


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