Disaster Zone

Cascadia Earthquake Scenario

If you are planning a disaster exercise and need some approximation of what might happen, this scenario is a good starting point.

by Eric Holdeman / September 3, 2011

We are always looking to describe what the next major disaster might be like.  Based on that description we do our planning for how disaster mitigation, response and recovery might help in addressing such a scenario.


Take a look at Totally Psyched for the Full-Rip Nine which gives a minute by minute description of what events might unfold during and a little bit after a magnitude 9 earthquake on the Cascadia Earthquake Fault that runs from British Columbia all the way down to Northern California.


I can't say that this scenario is based on scientific fact, but it reads pretty true to me for the types of issues we'll be facing in the future when the Cascadia Fault does rupture, be it one segment, or the whole "sausage" as described in the scenario.


The one thing that does not ring true to me is the number of deaths and the financial impacts of the disaster.  The time of day will determine the number of deaths, are people at work or home asleep in bed?  The damages are not so flexible in the timing.  A $100B disaster is possible in my mind.