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Warning of the big one?


Perhaps the best-read story in today’s Curry Coastal Pilot should be the news that there have been a “cluster” of small earthquakes recorded this week just offshore between Brookings and Gold Beach.

Are they small adjustments in ongoing movement of plates in the Cascadia Subduction Zone?

Are they a warning of the “big one” we all know might come some day?

Based on the geologic history, there is a 40 percent chance of that large earthquake happening in the next 50 years. Exactly when and where and how big? No one can tell us that yet.

But the new report says that Curry County is right in the center of the highest probability: the stretch of coast from Florence south to Cape Mendocino.

The forecast is not news, but the higher probability is a change from past reports.

If you want to see the full report and technical language, go online to http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/pp1661f.

For the rest of us, the message is simply “be prepared.” If your “go bag” is not prepared, if there are not shoes stored close to your bed, if you don’t know the risk of a tsunami in your neighborhood and if you don’t know how you would meet up with scattered family members, you have some work to do.

First, plan ahead with your family and neighbors. It’s a great excuse for a neighborhood gathering, and there are wonderful outlines available from the Curry County Emergency Services Department at 541-247-3208.

When the earth shakes, drop and seek cover under a table, desk or bed.

When the earth stops shaking, head for high ground in case the quake has caused a tsunami. Once the immediate dangers have passed, we all must be prepared to help ourselves for the first three or four days. It could be some time before help arrives.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about earthquakes and what’s happening off our coast, go to earthquake.usgs.gov. 



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