Monday, July 13, 2015

And yet another terrible challenge waiting to happen


This article from the New Yorker talks about a quake zone that makes the one in California look only bad. Since it is part of the Cascadia Subduction zone, and the Juan De Fuka tectonic plate, it puts the Pacific Northwest in the cross hairs of a really bad quake event. I live well east of the I-5 corridor, but I do not take a great deal of comfort from that. Not only because the shaking will still undoubtedly be catastrophic here, but that the region as a whole may well crumble back to the subsistence levels of a third world country.

And nearly as bad will be the overall economic effect as it spreads like another wave throughout the economic landscape of the country. Given the nature of Murphy's law, it is likely to happen in close concurrence to tornado's in the mid West, Hurricanes on the East Coast, or terrible flooding from more traditional storms where every you might want pick randomly. And of course in more than one or two possible combinations in succession.

How does a cost based economy deal with that and not face a terrible strain on it government to remain viable. How long can strict controls, and Marshal Law be kept in place in order to just get a handle on where to begin rebuilding?

We don't like to think about these things because, for one, there don't seem to be any reasonable answers, and there certainly isn't any real leadership demonstrated by current politicians to take on the really big changes that need to happen in order to be even modestly prepared.

What we're doing then is not only burning daylight, in a manner of speaking, but the relative calm of only smaller scale disasters. Events that ought to be alarms going off but are ignored. It's a choice that is really going to bite us in the ass.

The next full-margin rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone will spell the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent.

The Really Big One