California Is Not The Only Earthquake Zone
While most of us have heard of the San Andreas Fault and the
disastrous earthquakes that could spawn from it, there are other areas, outside
California that pose threats just as serious.
There are faults located throughout the United States that are also
capable of producing serious earthquakes that could cause widespread damage and
have the potential for causing massive loss of life. The notoriety that accompanied the San
Francisco Fire, which was caused by an earthquake, has undoubtedly contributed
to the idea that most earthquakes occur in California. However, there are several other zones where
the threat is just as high, if not higher.
Salt Lake City
The nearness of Salt Lake City to the Rocky Mountains has
placed it right over the Wasatch Fault. There
has not been a large quake from this fault since the arrival of the Mormons in
1847, but the potential exists for a quake with a magnitude of 7.5 to
occur. Scientists consider that the
Wasatch Fault is long overdue for a bad tremor, and the situation will be
made all the worse because of the soft soil conditions existing in Salt Lake
City. Basically none of the buildings in the city
have been constructed with earthquakes in mind.
The New Madrid Fault
The New Madrid Fault is located in Missouri and adjoining
states and is something of a mystery to scientists as there are no plate
boundaries near it. This area was hit by earthquakes in the early part of the 19th Century, resulting in
landslides and what might be considered small tsunamis on the Mississippi
River. The fact that loss of life was
minimal was because not many people lived there at the time, a situation which
has changed over the last several centuries.
The buildings in this area have not been made to withstand earthquakes.
America’s northernmost state sits along a subduction zone
where two plates are colliding. The
Pacific plate is being shoved beneath the continental plate, leaving the area
very vulnerable to earthquakes. In 1964
a 9.2 quake struck, resulting in a loss of 128 lives in Alaska. There was also widespread damage to property
and infrastructure. This quake caused a
tsunami that was 220 feet high in spots, and even caused 11 deaths in
California from a tsunami. The Denali
Fault is considered to be the site of the next serious earthquake here, and
there could well be massive disruption of transportation should a big quake
occur. The Anchorage airport would
probably be affected, and experts worry that the ground beneath it could
undergo liquefaction. When liquefaction
occurs, the earth becomes more like a liquid than a solid.
Oregon And Washington
Surprisingly, the odds of a serious quake occurring are more
likely in the Pacific Northwest than in California. This area is affected by the Cascadia
Subduction Zone, and as with Alaska, one plate is slipping beneath
another. This zone is 50 miles offshore,
but if a large tremor strikes, it is likely that Seattle and Portland would
be affected. The chance for liquefaction
of the hills above Seattle is great, in which case, cubic miles of mud would
inundate the suburbs and city. There is
a potential for the loss of thousands of lives.
Anyone living in these areas would be well advised to not
only stock emergency supplies, but also be sure that they have a viable
evacuation route. Make sure everyone in your family knows an emergency plan as well as where the family emergency food supply and first aid kits are kept. You can never over prepare for an emergency.
Earthquake Survival Kit