Earthquake research center to prep PNW for impending disaster

Major earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest are fairly uncommon, yet a significant threat looms: “The Big One” is an anticipated earthquake of magnitude 8 or higher.  

And it could happen any day.  

This projected earthquake — which would occur along the Cascadia Subduction Zone spanning from southern British Columbia to northern California — prompted the formation of the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT), and $15 million in funding recently approved by the National Science Foundation.  

Two Western Washington University geologists, Emily Roland and Colin Amos, will support CRESCENT’s mission to help the Pacific Northwest prepare for earthquakes by studying the Cascadia Subduction Zone. 

“It's very possible that we could have a magnitude 8 or 9 earthquake tomorrow, or in 10 years, or in three weeks from now,” said Roland, an assistant professor of geophysics at Western. “And so it's an important goal, I think, for us to keep pursuing a better understanding of that.”