Friday, November 13, 2015

Scientists could be one step closer to predicting Seattle's next mega-earthquake


The tectonic plate that could cause massive damage to the Pacific Northwest is being studied more in-depth than ever.

Researchers with the Cascadia Initiative Expedition Team have almost finished compiling the first map of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, which is sliding under North America.

Researchers found that the mantle beneath a portion of the Juan de Fuca plate is moving separately from the rest of the plate, EurekAlert! reports. That has resulted in "segmentation" of the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

The segmentation has been seen in previous earthquakes.

Researchers spent about three years dropping seismographs onto the ocean floor to map the mantle under the plate. Though their work isn't done, the information could be used to help predict when the next big earthquake could hit and to help understand the forces that generate them.

An earthquake of magnitude 9 is expected to strike in the near future, but exactly how near remains uncertain. The amount of time between subduction earthquakes is about 250 years. However, Seattle and surrounding areas are about 70 years overdue for a big one.

If researchers are able to pull enough data to determine when the next big earthquake will hit, that information could be beneficial for more than just knowing when to hide under your desk. With enough time, cities with aging buildings may be able to retrofit to avoid mass destruction. A more solid time frame for an earthquake may prompt Seattle to prepare a little faster.

Still, there might not be as much reason to worry about a major earthquake as some people make us believe. That's good news, because scientists say it's going to happen, eventually.
You may also like:

No comments :

Post a Comment