The threat of ‘The Big One’ has long loomed over the Pacific Northwest, where several major cities from Vancouver down to northern California are cradled by the 620-mile-long Cascadia Subduction Zone. The geological record shows the area is due for a major earthquake, which would likely be followed by a massive tsunami. Now, a new study has confirmed the region just off the coast of Washington has the ingredients for a megaquake.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone last experienced a large earthquake in the 1700s – and, it’s thought to generate a major event roughly every 200 to 530 years. While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact timing, experts have long warned the region could soon see another major quake. In the study, led by a team at the University of Texas at Austin, researchers found that such a quake may be more likely to strike off the coast of Washington and northern Oregon than regions further south along the subduction zone. READ MORE