Earthquake News

Ocean Fluid Spill May Cause Massive Earthquake Aiming for Portland and Seattle

According to a recent study, the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an offshore fault stretching from Northern California to Vancouver Island, could be affected by a fluid leak, which might result in a gigantic megathrust earthquake. The study conducted by a team from the University of Washington indicates that warm fluid is erupting from the seafloor around 50 miles from Newport, Oregon. This fluid reportedly lubricates the fault, putting increased stress on it, which could lead to an earthquake of magnitude-9 that could target Seattle and Portland.

The fluid leaks are found near vertical faults where the oceanic and continental plates meet. The study reveals that these leaks result in reduced friction between the plates, making them more likely to slip. The Cascadia Subduction Zone is where the Juan de Fuca and North American plates meet. The former is being pushed under the latter, and the resulting stress is building up until the fault's frictional strength is exceeded, leading to a massive earthquake.

The study notes that a megathrust earthquake of magnitude-9 would release 1,000 times more energy than an earthquake of magnitude-7 and 1 million times more energy than an earthquake of magnitude-5. This could result in catastrophic consequences for the Pacific Northwest, with potential damage to infrastructure, loss of life, and other economic impacts.

While the study highlights the potential risks of a fluid leak in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, it is important to note that predicting earthquakes is still an imperfect science, and it is impossible to say for sure when or if such an event will occur. Nonetheless, the study is a reminder of the ongoing threat of natural disasters and the need for continued investment in disaster preparedness and response measures.

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