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The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle


Stashed in: New Yorker, Seattle, Seattle, Seattle, AMA

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Save this one for when you want to terrify yourself, or when you have a trip to the Great Northwest planned.

Oh geez. Now I won't be able to go to Seattle without thinking of this. 

Top tips from Sandi Doughton:

  • For individuals, just be aware of the risk, make a plan with your family for how to get in touch after the quake (designate someone out of state that everyone can call or text even when local service is disrupted.) And build your emergency kit. You don't have to do it all at once - I just add things to mine every now and then.
  • There's pretty good evidence that the southern half of the subduction zone - off the Oregon coast - snaps more frequently than the northern half. But any subduction zone quake is going to affect the entire Northwest, whether it's a M 8.2 partial rupture, or a full-rip 9.0.
  • We are woefully behind most California cities in upgrading old buildings. Unretrofitted brick buildings are virtually nonexistent in most of California- and some cities require warning signs on those that remain. The City of Seattle has nearly 1,000 old brick buildings, and has done very little to require upgrades, except during remodels. Many of those buildings are multistory apartments, and nobody warns the people who live there. LA recently started paying attention to old concrete buildings - 1940s-'70s vintage, which are very poorly constructed and can pancake. We've done nothing about those in the PNW. 

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