Risky Business in the Pacific Northwest

BY Tom Bearden  April 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM EST

On Thursday’s PBS NewsHour, Tom Bearden reports on efforts to better understand a phenomenon called liquefaction. When a powerful earthquake shakes a region, sandy soils can turn to liquid and lose their ability to support weight. Man-made structures built on such soils sag, slide sideways or sink into the ground. Damage is frequently severe, and the sunk buildings sometimes uninhabitable.

This video explains why the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States is at risk for such a catastrophic earthquake, and shows how scientists in Oregon are trying to mitigate the damage from the temblor itself and the inevitable tsunami that will follow.