Darin Ransom | JPR Director of Engineering

We can be wary of the earthquake potential of the Cascadia Subduction Zone and still appreciate what it's done for the landscape. 

The meeting of tectonic plates far beneath us makes our part of the world quake-prone, but beautiful, too. 

Mountains and other dramatic landforms are the products of the earth moving; Robert Lillie demonstrates in his book Beauty from the Beast: Plate Tectonics and the Landscapes of the Pacific Northwest

Lillie taught geosciences at Oregon State and led ranger tours on geology. 

Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup

Check out the web page of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network and click on the markers for recent earthquakes.

You'll be surprised to see that they happen all the time... it's just that few of them are strong enough for us to feel. 

The Cascadia Subduction Zone in which we live poses a constant threat of big earthquakes, and other features can also contribute to powerful Earth movements. 

Seismic Network president John Vidale lectures this week at Southwestern Oregon Community College on temblors in the Northwest. 

OEM/Dark Horse Comics

The person in charge of keeping Oregon informed of earthquake hazards has a side job writing comic books. 

Check that; writing comic books is PART of her job. 

Althea Rizzo is the author of a comic story on how Oregonians can prepare for, and survive, a tsunami. 

This is the second comic book collaboration between Oregon's emergency management agency and Dark Horse Comics, based in Milwaukie. 

Research: Cascadia Quake Could Hit Sooner Than We Thought

Aug 8, 2016
Cassandra Profita/EarthFix

A new analysis by researchers in Oregon, Spain and British Columbia, Canada, suggests that massive earthquakes on northern sections of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, affecting areas of the Pacific Northwest that are more heavily populated, are somewhat more frequent than has been believed in the past.

Mt Shasta Avalanche Center

We talk a fair amount about "The Big One," the anticipated Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that could hit 9.0 or higher in magnitude.  But it's not the only movement of the Earth we need to be aware of: we have volcanoes nearby as well. 

Mount St. Helens blew its top more than 35 years ago, but other peaks in the Cascades could come to life as well. 

That is the focus of Seth Moran, who directs the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, WA. 


Don't get excited by the term "SLIDO," it is NOT one of those little hamburgers (that's a slider). 

SLIDO is the Statewide Landslide Information Layer for Oregon, and a pretty good acronym for a program that keeps track of landslides. 

The rains of this winter showed us what can happen when the earth slides--like on several Douglas County roads--and the SLIDO maps show where slides can happen and have. 

The state Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) runs the SLIDO program. 

UC-Berkeley Seismological Laboratory

When you think of all the things smartphones can do now, why NOT make an app that can alert you to an earthquake?

That's what the brains have been testing at the seismological lab at the University of California-Berkeley; an app called MyShake.

In its current configuration the app gives smartphone users confirmation of quakes, using some of the technology used in making today's games. 

The eventual plan for the app is to have it function as a warning system.

University of Oregon

You can't sit in one place and watch evolution happen.  But you might be able to come back after a while and see the evidence of it. 

And in a remarkably short time, it turns out. 

Scientists at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Oregon discovered that the huge Alaska earthquake of 1964--the one that caused the Crescent City tsunami--forced sudden changes in a species of fish. 

Mark Lincoln/Wikimedia

Emergency managers have to walk a fine line between making people aware of earthquake dangers in the region... and scaring them. 

But the threat is real, considering our part of the world sits atop the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the site of large earthquakes every few hundreds years. 

And it's been more than 300 since the last one.  Oregon Emergency Management's Althea Rizzo is the Geologic Hazards Coordinator for the department. 

And she's in the middle of a "road show" (September 14-21) bringing earthquake and preparation details to the southern part of Oregon. 


The death toll from the earthquake in Nepal continues to climb by the hour. 

And the search for dead and survivors is accompanied by growing efforts to assist the living, many of them displaced by the destruction of their homes. 

American Red Cross and other aid organizations mobilize for such disasters. 

Assessing Tsunami Readiness--And Finding Issues

Apr 20, 2015

When--not if--the Cascadia subduction zone in our region produces an earthquake, it will likely also produce a tsunami. 

And a recent report indicates varying degrees of evacuation readiness in coastal communities. 

Dr. Nathan Wood at the U.S. Geological Survey is the lead author of the report. 

Cascadia Quakes Past And Future

Feb 2, 2015
Mark Lincoln/Wikimedia

It's not an anniversary anybody celebrated, and it certainly is not one anyone wants to re-enact. 

But January 26th marked 315 years to the day since the last big earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. 

Scientists tell us that time gap means Cascadia is due, if not overdue, for another major shaking. 

Oregon Emergency Management continues to warn of the likely destruction by such a quake. 

Remembering The Ongoing Needs Of Haiti

Oct 13, 2014
Defense Department/Public Domain

The world learns about major tragedies like the Haiti earthquake of 2010… then the news media move on. 

Attention focuses on the latest disaster. 

Former Medford resident Kurt Hildebrand could not move on. 

His wife, Wilda Mondestin, is from Haiti, and they worked together on a large earthquake response through the Mennonite Central Committee

The Cascadia Quake In A Comic Book

Sep 4, 2014
Dark Horse Comics/OEM

It is simply hard to imagine our homes and neighborhoods bent and broken by an earthquake. 

But a large quake is a distinct possibility in our region, sitting as it does atop the Cascadia Subduction Zone. 

Emergency managers in both states work to raise awareness of the risks. 

Oregon's Emergency Management department just teamed up with Portland's Dark Horse Comics to produce a comic book about the aftermath of a big earthquake. 

Mapping Earthquake Zones Anew On Oregon's Coast

Jun 17, 2014
Erica Harris / Oregon State University

The Southern Oregon Coast is prone to earthquakes. 

Geologists are absolutely clear on that, with a lot of evidence to support them. 

But some of the evidence is now being updated, using high-tech methods not previously available. 

Protecting Older Buildings From Earthquakes

Mar 25, 2014

The old buildings that give downtown areas character in places like Ashland are often made of brick.  

And there's a potential problem: older buildings made of unreinforced masonry are prone to heavy damage in earthquakes. 

When The Earth Moves

Mar 20, 2014
NOAA/Public Domain

Los Angeles got a little shaking recently. 

And that was a couple of weeks after an earthquake rattled a few people and shelves in Humboldt County.  No surprise to Professor Lori Dengler at Humboldt State University. 

Who And How: Emergency Preparedness Summit

Jan 27, 2014
Mark Lincoln/Wikimedia

There's a fine line between encouraging preparedness and creating panic. 

Our region sits atop a major earthquake fault, the Cascadia Subduction Zone. 

California Earthquake Faults Need Mapping

Oct 21, 2013
Jerrye & Roy Klotz MD/Wikimedia

Very few earthquake faults in California have been mapped over the past two decades despite an ambitious campaign launched in the early 1970's to help scientists learn more about the state's seismic activity.

The Los Angeles Times reports only 23 maps have been drawn since 1991 and there haven't been any between 2004 and 2011 because of budget cuts.

Oregon Emergency Managers Take Earthquake Trip

Sep 16, 2013
Mark Lincoln/Wikimedia

What's in your earthquake kit?

The answer to that question is often "uh, I don't have one yet."  Which is why Oregon's Office of Emergency Management is hosting the Quake Prep Talk Road Show, visiting counties in the southern and southwestern portions of the state--the places most likely to feel the impacts of a major quake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.