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Earthquake antidote

Okay, not really an earthquake antidote. We’re quite a ways from those yet.

But the other day (H/T jed) I linked to a New Yorker article about the inevitable Big One in the Pacific Northwest. It wasn’t a bad article, all in all. It got some important history right, gave a decent overview, and apparently woke up a few sleepyheads.

But as a geologist says in this this Slate followup, the New Yorker piece was “a little Hollywood.” It quoted a FEMA official who said everything west of I-5 would be “toast,” for instance, which (if you don’t provide some reasonable balance) is irresponsible.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest or have loved ones who do, the second article, linked in the above paragraph, is a good antidote to some of the hysteria provoked by the first.

I also noticed that on the day I linked the scary earthquake article, one of you good people purchased the book Full-Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest via my Amazon links. I’ve read that. It’s a very good, very balanced, very serious look at the Northwest’s seismic future and how ready we are (or aren’t) for the threat. It’s also a rip-roaring story, beautifully written. I recommend it.

Finally, speaking of Amazon links: thank you to the wonderful person who bought the mega-appliance. Between your purchase and a small upsurge in buying from my links, we’re now up to normal for mid-July. Amazon has some curious ups and downs. I try to get used to them, but I was a little worried there.


  1. Shel
    Shel July 18, 2015 2:41 pm

    Despite ameliorating circumstances and assessments, thoughts of The Big One are always attention getting. In a different video it’s noted that this was based on a true story.

  2. Claire
    Claire July 18, 2015 3:35 pm

    Shel. That was just plain BAD.

  3. jed
    jed July 18, 2015 4:21 pm


    But the Slate article said that eruptions would likely be minor.

  4. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 18, 2015 7:41 pm

    Oh goody. The solution is for government to give us more difficult building codes. I just knew government had to be good for something…

    Even if FEMA’s projection of 13,000 dead actually happened, in Oregon and Washington, the chance of dying if the quake were tomorrow would be only 0.1 percent. Bad, but hardly the end of the world. Keep in mind that in WWII, the Soviet Union lost 14 percent of its population.

  5. Jerry the Geek
    Jerry the Geek July 18, 2015 9:55 pm

    Living as I do ten miles on the Oregon Coast side of the Interstate Five Freeway, I was naturally concerned about this awful prognostication. Fact is I experienced an earthquake in the early 1980’s. I was working as a programmer in a 4-story building in Portland, Oregon around midnight when The Earth Moved For Me. The drapes over the corporate windows were a-swaying, and i was dizzy and confused. I dropped to my knees out of confusion, fear, dread and dizziness.

    Her name was Carole, and she was a key-punch operator in the Data Processing department. But that’s another story.

    The fact is, I currently live 10 miles WEST of the I5 Corridor, and I’m not all that worried about earthquakes. (Yes, I HAVE seen the movie “2012” … bought it, only because I think that John Cusack is a comedic genious.).

    So, if The Big One Comes, I’ll die knowing that i beat Cancer, Heart Attack, Black Lung and Colitis!

    Also I lived through Viet Nam, which was a surprising event causing me to SERIOUSLY re-evaluate my Lifetime Game Plan … which means to me that this earthquake scare registers a 0.000001 on my bullshit-o-meter.

    Or, in other words .. Molon My Ass!

  6. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 19, 2015 9:36 am

    And then… there’s the Yellowstone caldera to worry about.

    Or not. 🙂 Actually, hail and wind from a passing thunderstorm present far more of a risk. But I don’t spend the energy worrying about them either.

  7. LarryA
    LarryA July 19, 2015 12:15 pm

    About the worst we get around here is a hole-buncha visitors when a hurricane slams the coast, 200+ miles away.

  8. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau July 21, 2015 4:04 pm

    This article somehow is not very reassuring:

    I hope old blue is pointed at the hills, Claire.

    Somehow I can’t imagine water will be THAT much problem on the coast, what with a stream every few feet. Filtering may well be, but the remedy for that is to get a Berkey or similar.

    Here are the tsunami maps for Lincoln City. Our place is in the “safe” zone, for what it’s worth.

    Of course towns like Seaside and Long Beach will be wiped clean. :-O

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