January 26, 1700 Cascadia earthquake anniversary

We are at the mercy of the Juan de Fuca plate, a major player in our geologic future.
We are at the mercy of the Juan de Fuca plate, a major player in our geologic past, present, and future.

I am so glad I wasn’t alive 315 years ago today. Not only were there no espresso or Netflix, two items I deem necessary for survival, that day in particular was probably spectacular in terms of its awfulness. At around 9:00 pm, a 1,000 km rupture along the Cascadia subduction zone offshore of Washington, Oregon, and California produced a Magnitude 9 megathrust earthquake. The quake generated a tsunami that reached the coast of Japan about 4,700 miles away. Scientists like Brian Atwater with the U.S. Geological Survey have spent much of their careers pulling tidbits of information out of stumps that were submerged during that event.

American Museum of Natural History—Reading the Geologic Record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz9ioAIaJVA&feature=youtu.be


It’s completely safe to assume that this will happen again in our lifetimes. Are we prepared for this? I’m not, although I do have earthquake insurance. While the thought of simultaneous espresso and Netflix withdrawals is daunting, even more so are the likelihood of temporary food shortages, no electricity, fractured transportation networks, uncertain access to clean water, injuries, fatalities, civil unrest, and poor sanitation conditions due to broken pipes.

After work today, I’m going to come up with a disaster plan for my family (including my pets) and assemble our three-day supply of food and water, coffee, flashlights, batteries, blankets, extra clothing, analog entertainment, and first-aid supplies. I’m going to start here: http://mil.wa.gov/preparedness.

It can’t hurt to prepare, and through doing this, I would also conveniently be ready for a global coffee shortage, a zombie uprising, or the sudden inability to stream multiple seasons of Doctor Who.