SEATTLE — Scientists fully expect that the coast of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and part of northern California to see a magnitude nine subduction zone earthquake again. It’s been 314 years since the last one in January of the year 1700. Scientists know of this quake because of written reports from Japan that recorded a tsunami. The reports of a giant wave also correlate with rings in old trees killed when marsh land along the Washington coast dropped several feet, allowing sea water to envelope their roots. This week, scientists with the University of Washington gathered 55 experts from around the region. Their goal: to step up efforts to prepare for the next magnitude nine earthquake in the Northwest and the ensuing recovery. “That’s the critical part. To be prepared and then to bounce back.” said John Vidale, Washington state’s seismologist and head of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Vidale moderated the event. The project is called M9, as in magnitude 9. But the lessons learned from it could be applied to any major natural disaster in Washington, a state that’s currently recovering from the landslide near Oso on March 22 that killed at least 41 people. More
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