Massive Quake Catastrophe Like Japan’s Could Hit Pacific Northwest, New Data Shows

Sunday, March 11, 2012
By Paul Martin

By M. Alex Johnson

A massive earthquake like the one that unleashed a giant tsunami and killed nearly 16,000 people in Japan a year ago not only could happen here in the U.S., but probably will — and relatively soon in terms of seismological history.

The Tohoku earthquake was the most closely monitored in history, yielding an unprecedented breadth of data, geophysicists and seismologists say. And for residents of the Pacific Northwest, the new data should be worrisome.

“It’s just like Japan, only a mirror image,” said Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the University of Hawaii and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

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