Research Shows How Underwater Fault Could Devastate West Coast with Major Quake and Tsunami

June 18, 2024

New research is warning about an underwater fault that could devastate the West Coast with a major earthquake and tsunami.

Seismologists have issued warnings that the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an offshore fault from British Columbia to Northern California, for decades. But a study published last week in the journal Science Advances has mapped to the fault to the greatest extent yet. And it could produce a 9.0 earthquake, the research shows.

The study, Subducting plate structure and megathrust morphology from deep seismic imaging linked to earthquake rupture segmentation at Cascadia, makes use of 5,500 kilometers of data acquired with a receiver array on a grid spanning more than 900 kilometers along the plate boundary from the northernmost Gorda plate to the northern limit of subduction offshore Vancouver Island.

It shows that the subduction zone is highly complex, and it is divided into four segments that could rupture independently or all at once.

If the Cascadia Subduction Zone is capable of generating a massive earthquake, a magnitude 9 for example, it could cause shaking that lasts about five minutes, generate tsunami waves up to 80 feet tall, and damage well over half-a-million buildings, NBC News reported.

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