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Cascadia earthquake: Finding the sweet spot between fear and action

Posted by: | July 23, 2015 Comments Off on Cascadia earthquake: Finding the sweet spot between fear and action |

A recent national news article suggesting that everything in Oregon west of Interstate-5 “would be toast” in a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake certainly drew attention to the seismic reality facing the Pacific Northwest.

The concern, though, is that people are focusing on the most draconian or extreme scenarios, experts say, which can lead to a sense of fatalism. The reaction illustrates the state of earthquake and tsunami preparedness – or lack thereof – in the United States, said Patrick Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant’s Astoria-based coastal hazards specialist, who works with coastal communities on disaster preparedness.

It’s a matter of feast or famine.

“The Cascadia Subduction Zone has shifted from a science project to a social studies project,” Corcoran said. “We need to find a sweet spot between fear and action. What I try to do is temper the tendency of people to toggle between the poles of ‘it won’t happen here’ and ‘it will be so bad that there’s no use worrying about it.’”

(Read the entire story from OSU News & Research Communication to learn how Corcoran and other OSU faculty are working with the state and coastal communities to prepare people, communities and infrastructure for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami).

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Earthquake and tsunami preparedness material from Oregon Sea Grant:

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under: beach safety, coastal hazards, earthquake, Extension, outreach and engagement, tsunami

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