“The next full-margin rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone will
spell the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent.”
Credit Illustration by Christoph Niemann; Map by Ziggymaj / Getty
– “The Really Big One”
“An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when.”
“In the Pacific Northwest, the area of impact will cover some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people. When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America. Roughly three thousand people died in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. Almost two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina. Almost three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy. FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million. ‘This is one time that I’m hoping all the science is wrong, and it won’t happen for another thousand years,’ Murphy says[ Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.].”
By Kathryn Schulz, New Yorker.
– “Northwest Water Supplies Dropping Amid Drought Conditions”
“The hottest June on record for Oregon and Washington came on the heels an unusually warm winter and spring. Now, Northwest rivers are running at or near all-time lows and cities with water reserves are drawing them down.”
“With the traditionally dry month of August still to come, officials say they’re worried some cities might need to tap emergency supplies before fall rains arrive. And with water supplies so depleted this year, they say, it’s looking more likely that the winter won’t fully replenish them,” by Cassandra Profita, OPB/EarthFix.
– “The West is so dry even a rain forest is on fire”
“In a normal year, Washington state’s Olympic National Park is arguably the wettest place in the continental U.S. An annual 150 inches of rain inundate the park’s western slopes, soaking the soil and slicking the branches of the lush temperate rain forest that grows there. Mosses, lichens and ferns festoon the trunks of centuries-old trees, whose thick canopy casts the forest floor into damp, dark shadow. The landscape has a primordial feel to it — cloaked in mist and swathed in green, it looks as though a dinosaur could come stomping out of the underbrush at any minute.
But this is not a normal year.
This year, ancient tree trunks smolder at their base as they burn from within. The downed wood and debris that carpet the forest floor have dried up into kindling,” quoting Sara Kaplan, Washington Post.
– “They Knew, They Lied: ExxonMobil and Climate Change”
“Vast swaths of the US West, including Alaska most significantly, are on fire. Many parts of the world, including Europe, are boiling in unprecedented heat waves. California is basically out of water, with no relief to come in the foreseeable future. Half of Greenland’s ice sheet is now liquid. Pink salmon, mussels, oysters, clams and scallops are about to disappear from the menu because the oceans are turning to acid. Those oceans are rising 2.5 times faster than originally estimated. Fracking persists, tar sands oil extraction continues to scar the air and the sure-to-leak Keystone XL pipeline marches inexorably toward delivering poison to the world.
People have been working for nearly 70 years to warn us of the dangers inherent in fossil fuels and the unchecked release of CO2. Since 1981 at least, ExxonMobil and other energy interests have known what these dangers represent, but spent money hand over fist to obscure the truth in order to line their pockets.
The ocean is coming. Many very smart people have been warning us of this for seven decades. As for the people who bent their shoulders to the task of denying this inexorable tidal truth for so many years that could have been spent checking and averting this looming disaster, well … I hope their cash can act as a flotation device. They believe themselves to be so powerful, but the ocean brooks no challengers.”
By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout.