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New science center will focus on the Cascadia subduction zone

Earth scientists at the University of Washington are lead partners in a new effort to study potential for "The Big Rip” in the Northwest. The Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center will be the first center of its kind in the nation, focused on earthquakes at subduction zones. That’s where one tectonic plate slides beneath another.

The Cascadia subduction zone is a 600-mile fault off the West Coast that runs from Northern California to British Columbia. It’s about 70 to 100 miles offshore and has the potential for an earthquake of magnitude 9 or higher on the Richter scale.

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Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to