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Volume 32, Issue 3

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Tuesday, 23 June 2009 10:36

Protecting a Region’s Infrastructure Assets

Written by  SANDRA DAVIS

The Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 was the most powerful recorded earthquake in U.S. and North American history. With a magnitude of 9.2 and aftershocks lasting for 18 months, damage totaled $2.08 billion in current U.S. dollars. Alaska isn’t the only region at risk of such a disaster. A subduction zone earthquake like the one in Alaska – and the Southeast Asia Tsunami of 2004 – is also likely to hit the northwest region of the United States, and scientists say it is imminent. Dubbed the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the area extending from British Columbia to Northern California last experienced an earthquake of that magnitude in January 1700, and the region is expected to be hit with another one within the next 100 to 300 years. In addition to placing the lives of millions of people at risk – 1.5 million in the Portland urban area alone – a subduction zone earthquake