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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 Zone

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‚Äôs 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.

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Earthquake Survival Kit