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Wirth's project ran simulations using different combinations for three key factors: the epicenter of the earthquake; how far inland the earthquake will rupture; and which sections of the fault will generate the strongest shaking.'Surprisingly, Seattle experiences less severe shaking if the epicenter is located just beneath the tip of northwest Washington,' Wirth said.'With just a few simulations you didn't know if you were seeing a best-case, a worst-case or an average scenario.'This project has really allowed us to be more confident in saying that we're seeing the full range of possibilities.Researchers simulated 50 ways that a magnitude-9.0 earthquake could unfold along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.Overall, the results show that coastal areas would the hardest hit For example, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake would likely give way along the whole north-south extend of the subduction zone, but it's not well known how far east the shake-producing area would extend, approaching the area beneath major cities such as Seattle and Portland.
Wirth's 50 simulations used variables spanning realistic values for the depth of the slip, and had randomly placed hypocenters and sticky points.This would unleash damaging and likely deadly shaking in coastal Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and northern California - and it could happen any day now.Now, researchers simulated 50 different ways that a magnitude-9.0 earthquake on the zone could unfold.In this scenario the hypocenter was far away, but the rupture spread inland and up the coast, causing waves to pile up toward Seattle Federal, state and military officials have been working together to draft plans to be followed when the 'Big One' happens.These contingency plans reflect deep anxiety about the potential gravity of the looming disaster: upward of 14,000 people dead in the worst-case scenarios, 30,000 injured, thousands left homeless and the region's economy setback for years, if not decades.