The Earth’s surface is not a continuous, solid piece. It is comprised of many pieces, called plates, that fit together almost like a puzzle. The area between two plates is called a fault, and these plates are constantly moving along their faults, albeit very slowly. The movement of the plates colliding or dragging along each other causes earthquakes to occur. While this is constantly happening, most of these quakes are too small to detect without specific equipment. However, the more powerful earthquakes are easily detectable and can cause significant damage. Landslides, tsunamis, and flooding are just a few of the events that can occur. The shaking of an earthquake also causes structural damage to houses, buildings, and infrastructure.
In the Pacific Northwest, there is a fault that extends from Northern California up to British Columbia called the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Many earthquakes have happened along this fault over the last 10,000 years, though the last one is estimated to be in the 1700s. Due to the nature of this fault, it has been building up pressure over the years and scientists estimate that within the next 50 years a high-magnitude earthquake will occur throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Although geologists can monitor earthquake activity, they are not able to predict exactly when and where it will occur. Earthquakes can happen at any time and anywhere, so it’s important to be prepared.
Making an emergency plan for you and your family is the first step to preparing. Your supply kit should, at minimum, contain the following items:
- First Aid Kit
- Bottled Water
- Non-perishable Foods
- Cleaning Products
For more information on how to prepare for an earthquake, take a look at ready.gov/earthquakes. Additionally, in March of 2021, a quake alert system was launched in Oregon. This tool does not predict earthquakes but rather it alerts people to take cover when it happens, which can still play a factor in saving lives.
Earthquake Country Alliance is another great resource to help you prepare for an earthquake as well as how to recover afterward. The recovery from an earthquake can take weeks or months depending on the earthquake’s severity. Having emergency supply kits ready beforehand and knowing how to respond afterward is important in order to stay safe. Taking the right steps can also help with insurance coverage and prevent the aftermath from taking up too much time in the long run.
If you have been affected by a natural disaster in Oregon or Washington or would like to learn more about how we can help, reach out to us today.