There have been 28 devastating (magnitude 8 or greater) quakes, according to OSU geologists, along the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the past 5,650 years, an average interval between quakes of 202 years. It’s been 317 years since the last documented quake on January 26, 1700. The only longer interval on record in that span is about 330 years.
While these figures are only approximate – quake dating is an imprecise science – it’s only reasonable to assume that the next quake and the accompanying tsunami could happen at any time.
The “Cascadia Rising” exercise conducted in June 2016 revealed just how unprepared we are as a region for this event. The official “After-Action Report” stated: “The emergency management community lacked the capacity to respond to the unique complexities for a catastrophic disaster of this magnitude.”
We choose to view this situation as a challenge, not a doomsday scenario. We are all about making our communities stronger throughout the region, so we can be resilient in the face of any situation that may arise – earthquake, tsunami, windstorm, flood, ice storm, etc. – and be better prepared to survive, recover, and eventually thrive in the aftermath.
The CSZ event does, however, pose an extraordinary threat requiring a vigorous response from both governments and private organizations, and especially families. This chart shows why we have a sense of urgency about increasing our resilience: