Monday, March 10, 2014

6.9 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Northern California

It was bound to happen, after years of silence from this fault, but a 6.9 earthquake struck the south end of the Cascadia fault, generating a powerful 6.9 magnitude earthquake, the largest earthquake to strike California since the 2010 Easter quake measuring magnitude 7.2. The quake struck at an approximate depth of 16km, off the coast of northern California. No tsunami was generated.

Residents reported that the quake went for a very long time, and was more of a gentle rocking than a violent shake.

The Cascadia fault is a slip/strike fault, combined with a subduction zone off of California and Oregon. This particular quake struck near the South end of the fault, next to a slip/strike, and subduction zone. While this will probably not result in upsetting any volcanoes in the vicinity, such as Lassen or Shasta (to the E and NE respectively), this could result in tension building up in the northern parts of the plate. This is the largest quake from the Cascadia fault in some time, and by many accounts, could be a precursor towards a larger quake in the future. Quakes as large as magnitude 8.8 have been proven to have occurred through mud cores taken offshore by research vessels, and it is known to have generated tsunamis which devastated Japan hundreds and thousands of years ago.

It is likely that it will still take a few decades for a quake of that magnitude to occur, but time will tell. If I were Oregon, I might take a few looks at the earthquake readiness of the state, and update policy and gird structures as necessary, for it is only a matter of time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. See the comment policy for details.