When the giant fault line along the Pacific Northwest ruptures, it could be our worst natural disaster ever.
The Cascadia subduction zone remained hidden from us for so long because we could not see deep enough into the past. It poses a danger to us today because we have not thought deeply enough about the future. The Cascadia situation, a calamity in its own right, is also a parable for this age of ecological reckoning, and the questions it raises are ones that we all now face. How should a society respond to a looming crisis of uncertain timing but of catastrophic proportions? How can it begin to right itself when its entire infrastructure and culture developed in a way that leaves it profoundly vulnerable to natural disaster?
This is a long read but well worth the time. “The really big one,” an earthquake in the Pacific Northwest over 8.0, last happened in 1700, but seismologists know that the geological pressure on the fault lines have been building since then. This in not a panic-inducing article, but one reminding people that the most potent natural disasters operate on cycles much longer than our lifetimes.