If the ‘Big One’ Hits Seattle

reblogging this because it’s really interesting. I love Longreads blog so much- always great articles.


In the New Yorker, Kathyrn Schulz describes the horrific devastation that would occur if a massive earthquake hit the Pacific Northwest. Scientists have calculated the odds of the big Cascadia earthquake occurring in the next 50 years as “roughly one in three.” Here’s a description of what might happen to Seattle:

The shaking from the Cascadia quake will set off landslides throughout the region—up to thirty thousand of them in Seattle alone, the city’s emergency-management office estimates. It will also induce a process called liquefaction, whereby seemingly solid ground starts behaving like a liquid, to the detriment of anything on top of it. Fifteen per cent of Seattle is built on liquefiable land, including seventeen day-care centers and the homes of some thirty-four thousand five hundred people. So is Oregon’s critical energy-infrastructure hub, a six-mile stretch of Portland through which flows ninety per cent of the state’s liquid fuel and…

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