The 6.4-magnitude earthquake that rocked Northern California is a timely reminder that the Cascadia subduction zone which runs from California to the coastline of Canada has awoken from its deep hibernation.
The possibility of a 7-magnitude quake is a grim reality. An event of this magnitude could release energy equivalent to 1 344 028 tons of TNT.
The Pacific North America coastline, where four major plates meet, have relatively higher seismic levels as the closest potential earthquake is 150km away from them.
Over the past 90 years, there have been at least 40 other earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or larger, six were magnitude 7.0 or larger, all within 250km of last Tuesday’s quake.
The San Francisco quake of 1906 was 7.9, which destroyed 80% of the city in 25 seconds.
Most earthquakes occur on pre-existing tectonic lines, and the vast majority do occur as a result of geophysical processes.
Monster earthquakes are going off all around the Pacific Ocean’s ring of fire. The amount of devastation is going to be unbelievable.
Historical records show earthquakes became more frequent and much more intense during the 20th century.
Magnitude 7.0 and above earthquakes have increased by an even greater percentage.
Los Angeles, which is perched alongside the San Andreas faultline, will face an earthquake of major proportions.
It will probably last 90 seconds, the magnitude could be between 8.1 and 8.9.
It has been 158 years since the last earthquake. The pacific plate has not stopped moving.
At 5cm (two inches) plate movement per year, that implies 8m (316 inches) of pent-up movement is now ready to be released, which is more than 26 horizontal feet (7.9m).
Tectonic Armageddon awaits mankind, in the Pacific region of North America. The seismic gun is cocked and ready to erupt.
* Farouk Araie, Johannesburg.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
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