In preparation for the BIG ONE — the mighty 9.0-magnitude earthquake that’s expected to lay waste to the Pacific Northwest — geophysicists have created 50 virtual simulations to see how such a quake could rattle the region.
The simulations don’t paint a pretty picture for Seattle or the coastal areas of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Northern California, but the locations of some epicenters were a bit more forgiving than others.
“People have done simulations like this in the past, but they only did one or two,” said study lead researcher and Affiliate Assistant Professor Erin Wirth, who did the project while a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. “In running 50 [simulations], we were trying to show the full range of possibilities by varying all these parameters.”
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