TERRA: Scientists and Engineers Plan for the Big One

Terra Magazine cover“The last great earthquake to strike the Pacific Northwest occurred on January 26, 1700, at about 9 p.m. Parts of the coastline dropped three to six feet in an instant. It set off landslides throughout the Oregon Coast Range. Some of them are still moving. If you could hear soil, rocks and trees creep inch-by-inch downhill, some of those sounds would echo that massive jolt. At sea, it generated tsunamis that reshaped the Northwest coastline, traveled across the Pacific and swept through bays and coastal communities in Japan. …”

The latest issue of Terra, Oregon State University’s research magazine, delves into the ways in which OSU scientists and engineers are helping the state prepare for the next big Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, which a growing number of researchers calculate could happen within the next 50-100 years. Learn how such a powerful near-short “megathrust” quake could affect the state and region, and what’s being done to plan for, and mitigate against, such disasters.

The spring edition also looks at how people like Oregon Sea Grant’s Tim Miller-Morgan care for the fish and other aquatic animals that make up more than 80 percent of the animals used in the university’s research labs and the public exhibits at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The past few decades have witnessed great changes in how institutions like OSU treat the animals in their care; as Miller-Morgan puts it, ““Now we understand that we shouldn’t look at these animals as disposable. We brought them into captivity, and we have an obligation to keep them as long as we can, as close to their natural lifespan as possible — or even longer.”

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