CORVALLIS, Ore. (KMTR) -- Earthquake researchers at Oregon State University are calling it an opus of sorts: a brand new report compiling years of earthquake evidence that’s helping narrow the window of when the 'Big One' might happen.
The new OSU study is a compilation of earthquake data and research collected across thirteen years in the Cascadia Subduction zone off the Oregon Coast. The team that put it together took about five years to do it.
Marine geology Professor Chris Goldfinger helped lead the study, which looks at core samples from the subduction zone area in the ocean and on-shore tsunami deposits.
Researchers found that as they moved south down the Oregon Coast, large earthquakes on the level of 8.7 to 9.2 magnitude on the Richter scale are more frequent.
Along with that data, researchers are also come up with a finer probability for a large earthquake in Oregon.
The region between Newport and Coos Bay should experience a large scale quake every 240 years. The report narrows the window on the Big One, saying that there’s a 40% chance of a major quake happening in Oregon in the next fifty years.
"At least in Cascadia, we're probably not going to get surprised,” says Professor Goldfinger.
“Retrofitting all of that infrastructure is just sort of a formidable process. It's going to take a long time, but the sooner we start, the better chance we've got,” says Goldfinger.
“It's moving but it probably would be good to move it at a better clip,” says Goldfinger.
Goldfinger’s team says if we get to 2060 without a major quake, we will have exceeded 85% of all of the known times ranges of earthquake reoccurrence in 10,000 years.
When the Big One happens, Goldfinger says Oregon’s quake would cause the Earth’s crust to shift by about 20 to 25 meters in a couple of seconds. A large quake would likely last for about five minutes, by best guess.
For a look at the entire report, click the following link: http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/pp1661f/.