An magnitude 5.9 earthquake recently struck off the coast of Oregon, with no major impact on the state. However, the region is statistically due for a big quake, and scientists are gathering as much information as they can before it strikes about how people and buildings might react.
When a massive earthquake hit Japan in March of 2011, scientists noticed a strange phenomenon - certain types of soil became almost liquid after the quake, making buildings sink into them. Much of Oregon sits on similar soil, worrying researchers about the impact a large quake could have.
People on the Oregon coast will be on their own when the big earthquake strikes, and have just minutes to get to higher ground before a tsunami roars ashore. Experts say coastal towns must be persuaded to hold regular evacuation drills and citizens have to be made aware of the risks.
"I think it's true to say that not everybody will be as enthusiastic about preparing for tsunamis as some. It's against human nature, really, to spend a lot of time worrying about these things, even though we know it's going to happen. Again, it's a matter of bringing alignment with what our heads know and how our feet act on the coast." - Pat Corcoran, earthquake researcher
1. What natural disasters can occur where you live? How do you prepare for them?
2. What is the difference between a liquid and a solid? What do you think “liquefaction” means?
3. Why is the state of Oregon especially susceptible to earthquakes and tsunamis? What causes both of those things?
1. Based on what you learned in the video, why do you think earthquakes are especially difficult natural disasters to prepare for?
2. Why would the possibility of soil liquefaction be a major problem for architects?
3. Why is bolstering bridge and road stability a major priority for people living in earthquake and tsunami zones?