Tsunami, Vladimir Putin and the Cascade Subduction Zone, What Do They All Have In Common?
Cascadia Subduction Zone
While the title to this article Tsunami, Vladimir Putin and the Cascade Subduction Zone, What Do They All Have In Common?, could be considered a mouthful, all of these factors are connected with science that one might consider 'earth-shattering', if not down right frightening. The Sumatra, Indonesia 9.1 earthquake that happened on December 26, 2004 generated a tsunami that was observed by the entire world and killed over 250,000, displacing millions but most importantly it educated millions to this very real threat cause by earthquakes in the Ring Of Fire.
The President of Russia is mobilizing troops, to prepare for just such an event that he expects to impact the Eastern coastline of his country in the very near future. Of course the question my readers will have, is how does he know this potential disaster may take place soon?
Because the science of seismology has given him the clues and coupled with the two earthquakes in January of this year, one registering 7.1 on January 24 striking Southern Alaska and the other registering 7.3 on January 30, hitting the Kamchatka Pennisula are both in the highly unstable Ring Of Fire are another tell tale sign that the Cascadia Subduction Zone is in a heightened state of tension.
Should a powerful earthquake strike the Cascadia Subduction Zone it could create a powerful tsunami that could wipe out 144,000 square miles of coastline from Sacramento, California to Vancouver, Canada in the United States and Canada as well as devastate the Eastern coastline of Russia and Japan. In the U. S. alone this would affect the lives of over 7 million people and leave hundreds of thosuands homeless.
Perhaps the most glaring concern is the warnings being issued by the famed Japanese earthquake researcher Yasutaka Ikeda, whom predicted the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that killed over 30,000 people in Japan alone. He is now warning that within SIX MONTHS a huge Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will strike, if not sooner.
This little known fault line, named after the mountain range that follows its course hundreds of miles inland called the Cascades, runs from Cape Mendocino, California along the coast of Oregon and Washington and terminates near Vancouver Island, Canada. It is called a subduction zone because one plate is sliding or (sub-ducting) underneath another.
The North American plate which contains the entire continental United States from New York to California meets the Juan de Fuca plate which is an oceanic plate 90,000 square miles in size at the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The Juan de Fuca plate is sliding inch by inch underneath the stationary North American plate, which in turn wedges the North American plate tighter and tighter.
The North American plate is stuck or wedged against the Juan de Fuca plate and is stubbornly giving way, it is bulging upward and eastward at a rate of forty millimeters a year, nothing significant. It has been doing this for a very long time because what is known as the craton- the thick mass at the continents center prevents it from moving.
Eventually the North American plate will rebound like a tightly coiled spring under the pressure and will spring back. If only part of the North American plate springs back it will still create a massive earthquake on the scale of 8.0 to 8.6 (on Richter Scale) however if it is a 'full-margin rupture', the magnitude will be on the scale of 8.7 to 9.2 and this is what will cause a tsunami.
What will happen is the northwest edge on the continent, from California to Canada and from the coast to the Cascades will drop in elevation by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to hundred feet west. The majority of this shift will take place beneath the Pacific Ocean, displacing a massive amount of water, which will surge upwards very quickly and then collapse outwards. This will create a colossal wall of water, one side moving west across the Pacific Ocean towards northern Japan and Russia and the other moving eastward, towards the west coast of America and Canada.
Vladimir Putin is a pretty savvy guy and quite possible the most important man in the world, at this point in history. He has kept his country out of major conflicts as much as possible, while moving its economy away from the collapsing petro-dollar by becoming a major influence in BRICS and still maintained friendships with all the major players in the global situation.
His political decision making is second to none, he worked his country through the Ukraine crisis, has maneuvered it into a working relationship with the United States in dealing with the terrorist group known as ISIS and is now heading off the escalating war threat in Syria by the mad Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan whom has been gathering his military force on the border with Syria.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu issued this statement in regards to Putin ordering the mobilization of troops and vehicles.
“I would like to stress that events of the inspection do not fall under the parameters of the Vienna document of 2011 on trust and security building measures that require obligatory notification of European partners. Nevertheless, as a manifestation of good will, we have informed our European partners of the basic parameters of the surprise combat readiness check via channels of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).”
While the tensions in the region remains high with rhetoric being exchanged by both sides of the conflict, it seems clear the Obama Administration has welcomed its Federation allies and seeks to take advantage of shared American-Russian interests in fighting ISIS. Surely it is a complicated situation but the Obama Administration has shown flexibility by adopting a new strategy that may ensure a peaceful solution and should be applauded for being able to adapt to new opportunities.
The success that the Russian Federation air strikes have accomplished against the supplies lines held by ISIS and Nursa-led coalition forces along the Turkish border coupled with the Paris terrorist attacks has changed the political stance of the Obama Administration, which wasn't favored by the Joint Chiefs of Staff nor the CIA, anyway. So while the new developments on the Syrian battlefield in recent months has brought about a corresponding shift in the Obama Administrations' Syrian policy, the recent mobilization of Russian Federation troops is welcomed, despite what it may do to the Geneva peace negotiations.
Of course, the imminent threat of a tsunami makes the mobilization of troops an internal National Defense measure and does not require that any statement be released, it does have the added appearance of a show of force should the situation in The Levant War Zone become dire. So while some skeptics might think that this mobilization is all due to the escalation of Turkish forces on the Syrian border, those of us with more of an open mind might want to reevaluate the imminent threat of an earthquake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Ring Of Fire
Cascadia Subduction Zone
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Mt. Saint Helens
History of the Cascadia Subduction Zone
The first American white men that reached the region of the Cascadia Subduction Zone in 1805 were from the famous Lewis and Clarke Corps of Discovery expedition. This was a mere 29 years after the Declaration of Independence, so the United States was still in its infancy stage of country development. It took another 150 years before anyone even began to think that the Pacific Northwest was prone to tectonic plate shifting and another fifty years to understand and interpret the regions seismic history.
Once geologist recognized that the Cascadia Subduction Zone was part of the Ring of Fire, which runs from New Zealand up through Indonesia and Japan and the eastern Siberian coast to Alaska, down the West coast of America and all the way down South America to Chile, and they knew that all of the most volatile volcanic eruptions and earthquakes on the planet were in the Ring of Fire, they were pretty sure the Pacific Northwest had endured some major natural disasters in the past. In fact the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, that killed 3,000 people and caused millions of dollars of damage, was their first real wake up call to begin studying this region.
Not until the early 1960s when geologists began to develop the theory of tectonic plates did they recognize how the Ring of Fire was in fact one huge subduction zone. Thanks to Chris Goldfinger, a leading geologist and scientists' research into the Cascadia Subduction Zone it has been learned that the odds of a really big earthquake striking this region in the next fifty years is one in three.
However since 1960 their have been five major earthquakes that have registered 9.0 or higher on the Richter Scale in the Ring of Fire, the latest being what is now called the Tohoku earthquake (9.0), which is blamed for the Fukushima Nuclear Plant meltdown and caused a massive tsunami to strike northern Japan killing around 30,000 people. The other four would be the 2010 Chile earthquake that registered 8.8 but I have included it because the USGS has downgraded the earthquake grading system (Richter Scale), in 2004 by one point, causing some confusion in the public venue.
Of course the Valdivia earthquake (9.5) in 1960 in Chile is considered the most energetic earthquake ever recorded and the strongest until both the Sumatra earthquake in 2004 (9.0) and the Tohoku in 2011 equalled it in intensity. In 1964 Alaska experienced an earthquake that registered 9.2 in magnitude.
However since recorded geological activity the Cascadia Subduction Zone has not shown any major activity beyond the Mount St. Helen's, 1980 volcanic eruption but this has not prevented many geologist to investigate this region and discover some amazing geological history. In the 1980s Brian Atwater of the United States Geological Survey and a graduate student named David Yamaguchi were able to make some discoveries that showed the Cascadia Subduction Zone had a disturbing past.
They determined that a major earthquake had struck the region in 1700 which drowned local forests and sent a huge tsunami across the Pacific Ocean to the coast of Japan. A seismologist named Kenji Satake used this information to solve the mystery of what Japanese scientist have called an orphan tsunami that struck the coast of Japan that same year (1700) although no earthquake was ever recorded in the area.
Because of this investigative work and other research, which has included drilling samples that have recorded the last 10,000 years of sediment on the Pacific Ocean's floors, geologist have now determined that a major earthquake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone occurs on average every 243 years. Since we already know that last major earthquake in the area happened in 1700 that resulted in a tsunami, we are now 72 years overdue for the next Big One.
Are you beginning to understand the how and why Tsunami, Vladimir Putin and the Cascade Subduction Zone, What Do They All Have In Common?, could be related in such as a way as to be warning that we all need to pay attention to world events that seemingly are unrelated?
“When that tsunami is coming, you run,” Jay Wilson, the chair of the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC), says. “You protect yourself, you don’t turn around, you don’t go back to save anybody. You run for your life.”
The Cascadia Fault Line
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Major geological events are always preceded by a series of minor to moderate geological events building up to the Big One. This is just a natural fact and is not disputed however predicting the Big One can be problematic at best. That is why the construction of most buildings after the early 70s in major regions of active fault zones are strongly encouraged and sometimes required to have safeguards in place to prevent their collapse in case of earthquakes.
But predicting when a major earthquake will happen is not a recognized science and so all we can do is be prepared and pray we will not have to endure such a cataclysm. The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) estimates that 75% of all structures in the state are not designed to withstand a major Cascadia earthquake. FEMA calculates that across the region of the Cascadia Subduction Zone more than a million buildings (over 3,000 of them schools) will collapse during a major Cascadia event, along with over half the bridges, 2/3 of the hospitals, railways, airports, fire stations and police stations.
Meaning even if you do survive the earthquake and landslides and somehow are able to get to a higher altitude and survive the massive wall of water and debris swept in by a colossal tsunami, you are on your own because no one will be coming to help you. Adding to your troubles will be the lack of fresh water, electricity, heat and food. Most survivors will simply starve to death or die of exposure and sickness within weeks of any major catastrophe in the region.
The first sign a Cascadia earthquake has begun will be from a compressional wave, radiating outwards from the fault line. This high frequency wave is audible to dogs and other animals but a human will feel it as a sudden jolt. When all the dogs start barking, you will have about 30 to 90 seconds before the seismic waves or shaking begins. The first thing to go will be the electrical grid, next will be anything not nailed down and eventually that will include your house.
Perhaps the biggest problem during the actual earthquake will be the hundreds of thousands of landslides that will simply consume everything in their path and about one third of the land will liquify and collapse. All of this combined will trigger fires, natural gas eruptions, dam breaches, hazardous waste spills and flooding on a major scale. However all that will pale in comparison to what will eventually come, the tsunami. You will have between 15 to 30 minutes between when the earth stops shaking and when the towering wall of water destroys everything in its path. remember it won't just be water but trees, cars, buildings, boulders and lots and lots of mud.
In Oregon alone 22% of the States coastal population is 65 years old or older and another 30% are disabled, the lax building codes and safety policies will ensure that most of these homes will be destroyed in any major earthquake but it is the tsunami afterwards that will do the most destruction and bring about the greatest loss of life because there simply is no evacuation plan. FEMA and the USGS predicts that in the case of a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake everything west of the I-5 Corridor will be gone or underwater, (see map below).
Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.”
Chris Goldfinger and many of the researcher mentioned above have all come to the same conclusion, that the Cascadia Subduction Zone is long over due and that there is s fifty/fifty chance that when it does happen, it will be a full margin rupture. Their conclusions based on the evidence is that geological events in neighboring fault zones will be the warning signs, that a major event is imminent.
I'm not trying to scare anyone but when one of the smartest World Leaders and President of one of the largest countries in the World is mobilizing his troops to anticipate a catastrophic deluge of Biblical proportions, you might just want to pay attention.
When one of the World's leaders in earthquake predictions, the famous Yasutaka Ikeda, who accurately predicted a major earthquake and tsunami in 2011, warns the world that a major Cascadia Subduction Zone Event will occur in the first six months of the year (2016), you might just want to pay attention.
When two major earthquakes larger than 7.0 on the Richter Scale happen within a week of each other on opposite sides of a the World's largest subduction zone, the Ring of Fire, usually a sign of a major event in the making, you might just want to pay attention.
This article Tsunami, Vladimir Putin and the Cascade Subduction Zone, What Do They All Have In Common? was written to show how sometimes seemingly unrelated events can reveal information that pertain to each other if we learn to read between the lines and pay attention.
I-5 Corridor Near Portland, Oregon
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