Washington Earthquake Risks

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Washington Earthquake Risks Earthquakes can strike any location at any time. But history shows they occur in the same general patterns year after year, mainly in three large zones of the earth. The world's greatest earthquake belt, the circum-Pacific seismic belt, is found along the rim of the Pacific Ocean, where about 81 percent of the world's largest earthquakes occur. It has earned the nickname "Ring of Fire". The belt extends from Chile, northward along the South American coast through Central America, Mexico, the West Coast of the United States, and the southern part of Alaska, through the Aleutian Islands to Japan, the Philippine Islands, New Guinea, the island groups of the Southwest Pacific, and to New Zealand. This earthquake belt was responsible for 70,000 deaths in Peru in May 1970, and 65 deaths and a billion dollars' damage in California in February 1971. As disaster crews and scientists examine the havoc wrought in Haiti, questions emerge as to whether such a vastly destructive disaster could happen at home in the United States. Would citizens know how to react? Cities are located near dangerous earthquake zones all throughout the country, from the most infamous on the West Coast to potential time bombs in the Midwest and even on the Eastern Seaboard. Stretching from northern Vancouver Island in Canada to northern California is the Cascadia subduction zone, where one giant plate of the Earth's surface is diving deep beneath another one. “The very largest earthquakes all occur on subduction zones”, said seismologist Geoffrey Abers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York. "These are also the faults that make very large tsunamis that propagate across ocean basins to cause a lot of damage.” This means that our home state, Washington, falls into that “at risk” category. The earthquake threat in Washington is

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