OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Future Cascadia earthquake to be discussed at Corvallis Science Pub

10/06/2015

CORVALLIS, Ore. – When “The Really Big One” ran in The New Yorker in July, the potential for a catastrophic earthquake in the Pacific Northwest captured national attention.

At the Oct. 12 Corvallis Science Pub, Chris Goldfinger, a primary source for the story, will discuss the 13-year research effort that led him to conclude that the Pacific Northwest faces a 37 percent chance of a major break along the southern portion of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, from Northern California to about Newport, in the next 50 years. The probability of such a rupture is lower — about 10 to 15 percent — on the northern section, which extends to British Columbia.

Such a break could generate a quake and tsunami similar to those that struck Japan in 2011.

The Science Pub presentation begins at 6 pm and is free and open to the public. Normally held at the Old World Deli, this event will take place in a different location, the Majestic Theater, 115 S.W. 2nd St. in Corvallis.

Goldfinger, a professor in the OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, has studied seafloor sediments off the Pacific Northwest coast and found patterns of disturbance that indicate when major quakes occurred. He has identified 19 major breaks along the Cascadia in the last 10,000 years.

In addition to this work, in 2007 he led a study of an Indian Ocean subduction zone near Indonesia, which had ruptured in 2004 in a 9.15 event, the third largest ever recorded. It generated tsunamis that killed an estimated 230,000 people in 14 countries.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

About the OSU College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences: CEOAS is internationally recognized for its faculty, research and facilities, including state-of-the-art computing infrastructure to support real-time ocean/atmosphere observation and prediction. The college is a leader in the study of the Earth as an integrated system, providing scientific understanding to address complex environmental challenges