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Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Economy, Science & Technology | 4 comments

Perhaps It’s Time To Move

I live in the Portland, OR area and I have been aware of the Cascadia suduction -zone and the associated earthquakes since I took geology in 1964.  The Japanese earth quake was a subduction-zone earthquake.  Never the less this was a bit disconcerting:

Cascadia earthquake, tsunami could cost Oregon economy $32 billion

The next great Cascadia subduction-zone earthquake will kill thousands in Oregon and cause at least $32 billion in economic losses unless preparations are radically overhauled, a state panel says.

When, not if, the magnitude-9.0 quake strikes — let alone an accompanying tsunami — Oregon will face the greatest challenge in its history, the state earthquake commission said in a 290-page draft report released Monday to The Oregonian.

Buildings will be so severely damaged that restoring full utility service will take three months to a year in western valleys and far longer on the coast, the commission found. Businesses tend to move or fail if utilities aren’t up in a month.

“So Oregon faces a very real threat of permanent population loss and long-term economic decline,” said the report, which recommends 50 years of seismic upgrades and other investments — price tag incalculable.

It’s been 300 years since the last one and they occur on average every 300 to 600 years.  Northern California and Washington State would also be impacted.

What few think about is the economic impact this could have on our technology driven world.  The largest Intel facility in the world is located in Hillsboro Oregon.  Every Intel microprocessor has been designed at the Intel Ronler Acres facility for 20+ years.  In addition it is where the manufacturing process is developed at which time it is duplicated at facilities all over the world.  The Hillsboro facility is a multi billion dollar one and probably accounts for a good share of that 32 billion dollar number.

Now very few of the recomended seismic upgrades will be made-neither the will or the resources are there.

Cross posted at Middle Earth Journal.