Researchers Predicting Strong Earthquake in Oregon
PORTLAND, OREGON — 24 October 2018
Researchers from Portland State University and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries have conducted research and discovered a network of active geological faults on Mt. Hood in Oregon.
According to the research results, the consequences of such faults can be unpredictable, up to an earthquake capable of destroying most of the state.
Researchers added that the faults extend north and south of the mountain and could trigger a 7.2-magnitude earthquake.
The faults "pose a serious seismic hazard" to Hood River, Odell, Parkdale, White Salmon, Stevenson, Cascade Locks, Government Camp, and the Villages at Mount Hood, according to the ongoing research.
The Portland metro area would experience strong ground motions and could suffer liquefaction damage along waterfront areas, the researchers say.
According to geologists, if an earthquake happens, it will be more destructive than the Loma Prieta earthquake near San Francisco (California) in 1989 that destroyed more than 18,000 houses, killed 62 people, and left about $6 billion in damage.
"It's not a matter of if it's going to happen," said Ashley Streig, assistant professor of geology at PSU. "It's really when and which fault it will be."
She says the faults are closer to Portland than the Loma Prieta epicenter was to San Francisco, which means it could be even more damaging.
She also says it would be different than the earthquake that is expected at some point in time to occur on the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
"These are faults that are literally beneath our feet," Streig said. "It's very short duration high amplitude shaking."
Streig says it would probably be twenty seconds or so and enough to knock you off your feet. She says scientists knew there were faults in the area but we didn’t realize the extent of them until now.
The researchers discovered the faults after analyzing recent high-tech imaging of the area.
The research is still new and involves scientists taking soil samples and using history to forecast the future.
Streig said the reason this research is so important is because once we know where fault lines are, engineers can plan accordingly, building in a way that minimizes damage and cost.
Unfortunately, more accurate predictions cannot be voiced at this point, but monitoring on the faults near Mt. Hood continues.