earthquakes | KNKX

earthquakes

One way to predict the risk of earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest is to look at how often they occurred in the past – and, for several groups of geologists, delving into the fault lines themselves.

One of the key elements of your emergency kit should be enough drinking water to be self-sufficient for days or weeks after a big earthquake. That task become much trickier when public water systems are wrecked and you are responsible for hordes of people in a community shelter.

The state of Washington is allocating $200,000 to inventory how many old buildings statewide could collapse in an earthquake. That money is included in a budget Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed this week.

When The Big One happens, emergency planners and geologists expect the vast majority of us will survive. But a magnitude 9 rupture on the Cascadia earthquake fault will likely cut electricity, running water and sewer for weeks—or even months afterwards.

An earthquake early warning system under development for the West Coast gets a major boost in the new federal budget that President Donald Trump signed into law Friday.

No one can say when exactly the next Cascadia megaquake will strike other than there's a fair chance it'll happen in our lifetimes. A new study of likely earthquake impacts in the Greater Portland region finds the exact timing and season make a big difference when it comes to casualties and damage.

Planned student walkouts Wednesday bring attention to reducing the threat of school shootings. One group of Northwest parents is pushing schools to prepare better for another kind of disaster, a major earthquake. 

The Big One, Serialized

Mar 6, 2018

Do you have two weeks of food, water and other essentials to survive after a catastrophic earthquake or other disaster? Most Pacific Northwesterners mean well but aren't prepared. In Portland, on the Washington Coast, in British Columbia and now in Bellingham, writers tackled The Big One in serial form to motivate people into action.

A 7.9 earthquake off the coast of Alaska triggered a tsunami watch that stretched from Washington to California early Tuesday morning. But many coastal residents slumbered right through it.

That’s because it was a watch—not a warning—which would have triggered outdoor sirens up and down the coast.

A powerful magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska late Monday night, initially prompting a tsunami warning for a large section of the state's coast and parts of Canada. As more data came in, the U.S. Tsunami Warning System downgraded the threat to an advisory for Alaska's Chignik Bay.

Oregon and Washington officials have identified hundreds of bridges that still need to be replaced or retrofitted to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake from the offshore Cascadia fault zone.

But the pace of highway reinforcements is picking up.

Last week’s earthquake in Mexico provided another reminder about the risks of poorly reinforced buildings. According to government studies, there are literally thousands of older brick and concrete buildings in Oregon and Washington that could collapse in a strong earthquake.

Updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

As the morning sun rose over the cities of Central Mexico on Wednesday, where city blocks had lain neatly arranged, there was now a mess of rubble and stunned residents, watching as thousands of earthquake volunteers and rescue workers dug through scattered stones searching for signs of life.

The 7.1 magnitude quake struck Tuesday in Puebla state, some 75 miles from Mexico City, but it devastated a vast expanse of the country. Mexican authorities put the death toll at 230.

An earthquake struck northern Oklahoma early Saturday morning, rattling houses and waking residents in the region around Pawnee, about 74 miles north of Oklahoma City. Preliminary measurements show the quake had a magnitude of 5.6 — believed to be one of the strongest in state history.

The quake was felt in five states, according to the U.S. Geological Survey: Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas. It struck just after 7 a.m. local time, at a depth of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles).

The rumbling started on the afternoon of May 22, 1960. Sergio Barrientos, then about 8 years old, was walking down a street in his hometown in southern Chile when the ground started to shake. He remembers electrical wires swinging from the telephone poles — so violently that they slapped each other from opposite sides of the street.

"At the same time, I saw some of the chimneys falling down through the roofs of the houses," says Barrientos.

Italy's state museums are donating their proceeds today to reconstruction efforts, following a massive earthquake that killed at least 291 people and nearly leveled three medieval towns.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini is appealing to people to visit the country's museums to show their solidarity with the victims of the powerful temblor, as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley tells our Newscast unit.

Italy has started to bury its dead following a devastating earthquake on Wednesday that killed at least 290 people and left whole towns in ruins. The country has declared Saturday a national day of mourning for the quake's victims.

Reporting from a state funeral in the town of Ascoli Piceno, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley described a community overcome with grief. She said the service was held in a gymnasium, where 35 caskets were laid out. "People cried and held each other," Eleanor said.

Trust the Italians to meet disaster with food.

While nobody is making light of Wednesday's earthquake that struck Amatrice, a small town in the Appenine mountains about 70 miles as the crow flies from Rome, several independent efforts have sprung up to use the town's signature dish — spaghetti all' amatriciana — to help relief efforts.

Updated 2:55 a.m. ET Friday:

Officials in Italy say the death toll from Wednesday's powerful earthquake has risen again. The Associated Press reports that the country's civil protection agency now says 267 people were killed. The number of injured being treated at hospitals stands at 387.

Aftershocks continue to rumble through central Italy. On Friday, an aftershock registered with a preliminary magnitude of 4.7.

Original Post:

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook central Myanmar around 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday, damaging buildings and sending people running into the streets across the region.

Updated at 8 a.m. ET on Thursday:

Officials in Italy say the death toll has risen to 241. The Associated Press quotes the country's civil protection agency — in updated figures about 27 hours after the earthquake struck, the officials said the death toll was 247, but it has since been revised downward. Urgent search efforts continue.

Original Post:

Imagine being on a rural island when a major earthquake hits off the coast. After five minutes of shaking that registers 9.0 on the Richter scale, devastation is all around. Food, water, medicine and fuel are in short supply.  Along with power and phone service outages, all bridges and ferry connections are down.

Since 2013, Braun has led a team putting together a military response plan should an earthquake and tsunami happen in Washington state, as part of federal, state and military preparation for the "Big One" along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

A massive, four-day earthquake drill kicks off Tuesday in the Pacific Northwest.  The region is ripe for what officials say could be the biggest natural disaster the nation has ever seen. The exercise, called ‘Cascadia Rising,’ will test the readiness of responders at all levels of government.

Hundreds of search and rescue experts from 13 countries are joining Ecuadorian rescue teams, the nation's foreign minister says, to try to save the lives of anyone who survived a magnitude 7.8 earthquake on Saturday and remains trapped beneath the rubble.

But hour by hour, the odds dwindle that anyone has survived this long.

Just more than 24 hours after powerful earthquakes struck a large island in southwest Japan, an even stronger quake has hit the same area.

The Associated Press quotes a Japanese official as saying 19 people were killed, bringing the total for the two big quakes to 29.

The company that built a 17-story apartment building that collapsed during Saturday's earthquake in Taiwan no longer exists, but three of its former executives have been arrested as prosecutors look into allegations of shoddy building practices.

More than 24 hours after a deadly magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Taiwan, rescuers are still pulling survivors out of the rubble.

The earthquake hit at roughly 4 a.m. local time on Saturday (Friday afternoon in U.S. time zones), just two days before the Lunar New Year celebrations. The city of Tainan was the hardest hit — and a single building, a 17-story apartment building that toppled like a folding accordion, caused most of the casualties.

At least 26 people are confirmed dead from the quake, 24 of them from the building collapse, The Associated Press reports.

Federal agencies and university scientists are making progress on the deployment of an earthquake early warning system for the West Coast. That was one of the messages from a half-day earthquake preparedness summit hosted by the White House Tuesday.

Making school buildings strong enough to withstand a major earthquake is one of the highest priorities for emergency planners on the West Coast. Washington state is taking small steps to identify the most vulnerable schools, while Oregon is actually spending to fix things.

More than 300 people are dead the day after an earthquake hit Afghanistan and shook surrounding countries. At least 2,000 people are injured, NPR's Philip Reeves reports on Morning Edition.

"This is a very remote landscape," Reeves notes, "and it can take a long time before you find out exactly who's been impacted by a disaster of this kind."

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