Cascadia's Fault: The Coming Earthquake and Tsunami that Could Devastate North America

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Overview

The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a fracture in the Earth's crust roughly 100 kilometers offshore, running 1,100 kilometers from Northern California to Northern Vancouver Island. This fault generates monster earthquake about every 500 years. There is roughly a 30 percent chance that just such a disaster could happen within the next fifty years. Or it could happen tonight.

Cascadia's fault is virtually identical to the tectonic time bombs that decimated Sumatra in 2004, Chile in ...

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Cascadia's Fault: The Coming Earthquake and Tsunami that Could Devastate North America

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Overview

The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a fracture in the Earth's crust roughly 100 kilometers offshore, running 1,100 kilometers from Northern California to Northern Vancouver Island. This fault generates monster earthquake about every 500 years. There is roughly a 30 percent chance that just such a disaster could happen within the next fifty years. Or it could happen tonight.

Cascadia's fault is virtually identical to the tectonic time bombs that decimated Sumatra in 2004, Chile in 2010, and Japan in 2011. It will generate the same kind of earthquake, at magnitude 9 or higher. Shockwaves from the earthquake will slam five cities at once-Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle, Portland, and Sacramento-and will wreck dozens of smaller towns and coastal villages. The tsunami waves will hit the beaches of the West Coast, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand.

Written by a journalist who has been following this story for twenty-five years, Casadia's Fault tells the tale of this potentially devastating earthquake and the killer waves it will spawn.

For twenty years, Jerry Thompson worked as a network news correspondent and a documentary film producer for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He recently produced and narrated a half-dozen television documentary specials on Cascadia's fault that received wide critical praise.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Cascadia's Fault

"Reporter Jerry Thompson puts the history of subduction earthquakes and the resultant tsunamis into clear perspective. In Cascadia’s Fault: The Coming Earthquake and Tsunami That Could Devastate North America, Thompson has written a very readable tale of how plate tectonics and earthquake science works, and what we need to know if we insist on being Left Coasters." —Sacramento News & Review

"A level-headed look at a potentially devastating natural disaster . . . fascinating." —Booklist

“Writer and director Jerry Thompson describes the brilliant scientific research conducted by Canadian and U.S. geologists and geophysicists that led to the important discovery that the Pacific Northwest experiences some of the largest earthquakes on Earth––giant subduction zone earthquakes. The Cascadian Subduction Zone is armed and dangerous––an earthquake comparable to, or even larger than, the great earthquake in Japan in March 2011, is inevitable. This inevitability demands that we better prepare ourselves and our cities for ‘the Big One.’ Cascadia’s Fault is a captivating read that gives readers a sense of the excitement of scientific discovery and the importance of science to society.” –– John Clague, Directore, Centre for Natural Hazard Research, Simon Fraser University

“If you don’t know much about the risk posed by Cascadia, then you are not alone; indeed, for a long time even geologists were in the dark. The story of how they slowly uncovered the danger signs is the focus of journalist Jerry Thompson’s excellent new book, Cascadia’s Fault, a creditable attempt to raise awareness beyond geoscientists and emergency planners who have, as he puts it in his introduction, been ‘having a devil of a time getting anyone to pay attention.’” –– Highly Allochthonous

"Jerry Thompson, a longtime journalist, doesn't say much if anything about politics in his new book. But the political implications of his book, for Canada and the United States, are inescapable." –– The Tyee

"Thompson, a journalist and documentary film producer, presents this frightening look at the Cascadia subduction zone and the risk it poses to major American West coast cities through powerful earthquakes and devastating tsunami waves. Drawing from current seismology research and the effects of recent massive quakes in Chile, Sumatra and Japan, the work outlines the risks to this seemingly quiet section of the "Ring of Fire" and advocates for better disaster preparedness as the only way to survive the inevitable disaster to come." –– Booknews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582438245
  • Publisher: Counterpoint Press
  • Publication date: 4/17/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 433,953
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Jerry Thompson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker living outside of Vancouver. For twenty years, he worked as a as a network news correspondent and a documentary film producer for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has written articles for Equinox and Vancouver magazine, and has produced and narrated a half-dozen highly regarded television documentary specials on Cascadia’s fault that received wide critical praise.
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Table of Contents

Maps vii

Foreword Simon Winchester xi

Introduction xvii

Part 1 Tremors and Riffles

1 Mexico City: Preview of Coming Events 3

2 Lessons from the Rubble: A Front-Page Story 13

3 The Alaska Megathrust: Cascadia's Northern Cousin 29

4 Against the Wind of Convention: Plafker, Benioff, and Press 43

5 Cauldron and Crust: The Rehabilitation of Continental Drift 53

6 Nuke on a Fault: Early Clues in Humboldt Bay 61

7 Proving the Doubters Wrong: The Chile Connection 70

8 Mount St. Helens: Cascadia's Smoking Gun? 78

Part 2 Setbacks and Breakthroughs

9 Mud Cores and Lasers: The Search for Evidence 95

10 The Whoops Factor: Cascadia's True Nature Revealed 113

11 Quake Hunters: Finding Cascadia's Ghost Forest 125

12 Cedars, Peat, and Turbidites: A Tipping Point at Monmouth 134

13 Cascadia's Segmented Past: Apocalypse or Decades of Terror? 147

14 Digital Water: Catching Waves in a Computer 161

15 Defining the Zone: Hot Rocks and High Water 177

16 Cracks, Missing Rings, and Native Voices: Closing In on a Killer Quake 190

17 The Orphan Tsunami: Final Proof of Cascadia's Last Rupture 200

18 Episodic Tremor and Slip: Tracking Cascadia with GPS 212

19 Turbidite Timeline: Cascadia's Long and Violent History 221

20 When's This Going to Happen? The Problems with Prediction 233

Part 3 Shockwaves

21 Facing Reality: Cascadia Equals Sumatra 269

22 The Next Wave: Thinking the Unthinkable 278

23 Watching It Happen, Wishing It Wouldn't 288

24 Cascadia's Fault: Day of Reckoning 300

Epilogue: Survival and Resilience, a State of Mind 309

Afterword 319

Acknowledgments 337

Suggestions for Further Reading 339

Index 349

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Highly Recommended - especially if you live in or travel in the Pacific NW

    A must read for anyone unfamiliar (or familiar) with the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of northern California, Oregon, Washington and Vancouver, BC. In depth, credible, and fascinating although tedious reading in spots. There are few graphics except for the first few pages and no links to references keeps it from getting 5 stars. I’ve been interested in the subject for a long time and have spent lots of time at the USGS and other sites over the years including Earthquakes Canada. This book has motivated me to increase my earthquake preparedness for home and work, since work is almost on the Hayward Fault. The book has also added an element of increased awareness for those time when I’m at the (any) seashore. Jerry Thompson’s writing kept me glued to the book until that last page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Recommended

    This a must read for all of us that live on the west coast. Be prepared as the detailed earthquake information will give you chills. The main object is to make the citizens aware of being prepared for the BIG one. Sit down with the family and have a serious discussion of your plans to survive.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 12, 2011

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    Posted January 13, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

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