Reminder ofhow little control we have
The earthquake and following tsunami in Japan remind us howlittle control man has over nature. If you were up watching the news Thursdaynight, it was hard to believe your eyes watching the wave wash ashore pushingcars, boats and trucks, even buildings ahead of its path. And to know whilewatching, even though we couldn’t see them, that there were thousands of peoplebeing swept up in the devastation. The wave traveled across the ocean andreeked havoc as far away as California where boats were damaged in places likeCrescent City on Friday morning.
Last week’s events also serve to reminds us that we inWashington are not so far removed from the same thing happening along ourPacific Coast. A magnitude 8.7 to 9.2 earthquake occurred in the Cascadia
Subduction Zone in 1700. This megathrust earthquake was saidto have affected from Vancouver Island in B.C. in the north, along the PacificCoasts of Washington and Oregon, and as far south as Northern California.Scientists say this pre-United States quake even caused a tsunami that hitJapan.
There is nothing we can do to stop another major shift ofthe under-ocean plates in the Cascadia Subduction Zone at any time. In ourmodern world we have come so much to rely on technology, yet we still don’thave a way to accurately predict earthquakes. That was bourn out last week. Givenhow tech savvy the Japanese are – they had little warning before the quake andfollowing tsunami.
A quake the size of the one in 1700 could produce a tsunami80 to 100 feet high. However, it would not be the tsunami that would do themajor damage as most of the major population areas in Washington are furtherinland and this should offer some protection if a tsunami was to occur.
Living in Eastern Washington we don’t worry aboutearthquakes so much – our battles with nature tend to revolve around thingslike wildland and forest fires, floods and drought – but often the same rulesapply when facing a natural disaster. Be prepared with some sort of emergencykit with food, water, warm clothes, first aid supplies, matches, radio,flashlight, etc.
We continue to relearn there’s not much we can do to controlnature and all we can do for the Japanese people is keep them in our prayersand contribute to the recovery efforts in whatever way we can.