Society

Oregon Earthquake Experts Believe State Is Due For ‘The Big One'

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According to a geologist with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, the state is sitting on a major fault line and the chances of an earthquake happening in the near future are quite good. Oregon is "like an eight-and-a-half-month pregnancy, due any time now," said OEM geology hazard coordinator Althea Rizzo. “We're in the zone, and we'd darn well better get ourselves ready for it. A lot of you may have moved here from California to escape them, but the fact is, Oregon is earthquake country."

Rizzo made her comments while addressing a crowd in the town of Medford about the issue, The Mail Tribune reported. When she asked the gathering how many of them had been through a California earthquake, about half the hands went up. She said that there's a 37 percent chance the “Big One” will happen in the next 50 years.

"It's going to shake here," she said. "Single-family homes will bounce off their foundations. Landslides will cause transportation between I-5 and (Highway) 101 on the coast to be cut off for three to five years." Rizzo added that a large-scale quake would cause the ground to "turn to pudding."

In order to prepare people for the possibility of an earthquake, the OEM is holding an event called the “Great ShakeOut” next month. According to the OEM’s website:

On Oct. 17, at 10:17 a.m. millions across the United States will “Drop, Cover, and Hold” for the Great ShakeOut, a worldwide earthquake drill designed to teach people how to prepare for an earthquake. Organizers are asking individuals, businesses, and schools to participate this year… Participants practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold,” the recommended procedures for self-protection during an earthquake. Many schools and other organizations also practice additional aspects of their preparedness plans. The ShakeOut began in southern California in 2008 as a way to involve the public in a large-scale emergency management exercises and has now grown to become the largest public preparedness exercise in the United States. More than 14.5 million people in the U.S., and 160,000 Oregon residents participated in the ShakeOut in 2012.

Rizzo recommended that people participate in the event and that they practice the “drop, cover and hold on" drill. "You need to practice this over and over because when it's happening you're not going to be able to think," she said.

Sources: The Mail Tribune, Oregon.gov