Nine Questions for Sandi Doughton, Author of Full-Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest

Comments

1
What a delightful person!
2
Dan's final question said nothing about being inside any kind of building on Capitol Hill.
3
Damn, I wish she had written the NYT article!
4
Good question.

Oh the Reddit Q&A is online that was done with UW researchers if you want to read it.

5
I am *not* smug that i live on the other side of the US, in a relatively geologically stable area. No, I am not.

Nope, not me.
6
I bought Sandi's book and started reading it last night because I heard about it in the AMA, so the article might increase her book sales.
7
here's the reddit link. Side note, partner ate the book up!

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/3…

8
Surviving the actual quake/tsunami is frankly, the least of my worries. It's the long, long period of little/no electricity, clean water, reliable fire control, sewage, natural gas, working roads, internet (goodbye to my job), disease, economic collapse, that worry me. Fuck how many days of food I have in my house or a survival kit in my car--it's all the long term shit that will really fuck us.
9
did you know that High Point in W. Seattle is 520' above sea level, and is WEST OF I-5?

it's not going to be "toast", even with a 200' high tsunami. this panic now shit is lame.
10
NOAA used to send out email alerts from the Alaska and Pacific tsunami warnings centers, but that service was eaten by the sequestration budget cuts a few years back. Don't think it was ever revived.
11
@ 8, Those were my exact thoughts as well. The aftermath will be far worse than the disaster and likely will mean forced relocation since services and the economy will be smashed for a year or more. It would be Katrina x 1,000.
12
FEMA estimated 13k dead and twice that injured. The death toll will be outrageous and services (water, sewage, power) will be fucked for months if not a year. I think the point is that the aftermath will be the really bad part. I guess it's time to build that tiny house off in the woods somewhere!
13
@12: Those tiny houses in the woods are always predicated on being able to drive in to town and get supplies.
14
Lady's a class act.
15
@9:

I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but even if the 200 foot tall tsunami doesn't get you, the aftermath is going to leave everyone else who survives in pretty wretched shape: no power; no running water; massive infrastructure damage; you can basically forget emergency and first responder services; it'll be next to impossible to even make it to a hospital unless you can do it on-foot, and even then they're going to be massively overwhelmed with casualties, so good luck with that.

Seriously, your best bet is to stock up on potable water, non-perishable staples, TP, basic clothing and shelter, and first-aid, throw in a couple of flashlights, extra batteries, and a hand-crank emergency radio - think enough camping gear and supplies to last one week at-minimum - and then hope you're not beneath some structure when the big shit hits the giant fan.
17
I was on the 61st floor of the Columbia Tower when the Nisqually Earthquake hit. The swaying was freaky but I suppose it beats the alternative. I hope it can take five minutes of that.
18
What magnitude was Nisqually? Were there big waves and flooding Downtown after it?
19
@15: I have all that, but it will probably be buried under my house when it slides into lake Washington. I will be killed in the Tsunami.
20
@15 You should go read the AMA. Nobody has said anything about a 200' wave hitting West Seattle. What they have said is that in the case of a full rip megathrust the coast will experience a wave that varies from 20' up to possible 100'. By the time it winds through Puget Sound to Seattle it will be greatly reduced. The part about west of 1-5 being toast is referring to it being without Power, water and sewer and possibly cut off from transportation for a very long time.
21
@15 and alcohol, assuming you have it secured so it won't break during the earthquakes. My husband and I don't drink hard liquor but we have a fully stocked bar, thanks to friends' gifts ("what do you want for your birthday?" "Jim Beam"). What started as kinda a joke gift became a tradition. Liquor doesn't go bad...? We both figure whether natural disaster or alien invasion, other folks will trade desperately needed supplies for the booze we don't want.
22
@18 Nisqually was a 6.8 and lasted 45 seconds. No tsunami.
23
@9, you are completely misunderstanding the risk being discussed. A tsunami is not how you will be "toasted." The tsunami threat is being discussed for the coast, not for Seattle. The experts acknowledge that because Seattle is behind a peninsula and not directly exposed to the ocean, any tsunami will be somewhat dissipated before it gets here. A tsunami might be bad, but it won't be the worst thing about post-quake Seattle.

No, you missed the TWO other large threats.

#1, the status of your home after the ground moves up and down and sideways, by several feet in any direction, for up to 5 minutes. There are stern warnings about homes and buildings sliding off their foundations. Additional penalties apply if your home is on a hillside or on soil that will liquefy.

#2, not being without running water, electricity, phone service, natural gas, Internet etc. for possibly weeks or months, and not being able to reach hospitals or stores or find stores that still have any food or supplies left in them, because utilities, roads, railroads, airports, bridges, and tunnels were heavily damaged.

You're not insulated from those risks because you live hundreds of feet above sea level. That high horse you are on does not make you immune to finding yourself homeless, injured, and without food, water, power, and transportation for weeks after a major earthquake.
24
Nisqually quake was deep (good thing) and not the Cascadia subduction zone kind which produces the megaquake and tsunamis. Not due to the the Seattle fault either, the 2nd most worrisome earthquake fault affecting us (cuts through Bainbridge, downtown toward Capitol Hill there). Regardless, I remember being at work that evening on pill hill. It was eery and quieter than expected given what happened. We bolted our bookshelves to the wall after that.
25
Takes talk of an earthquake to unearth Dirt. Hey Dirt, hope you're good, though talking on this subject may not be the time to ask.
Shit.
26
@24 - The projected full rip of the Seattle Fault will have a much higher localized MMI than a megathrust eq on the CSZ hundreds of miles away, so in reality that's the one that scares the men and women at the USGS most for Seattle proper and its immediate environs. We will likely see tremendous tsunami and seiche effects on our inland waters that will exceed the damage of the actual quake when the Seattle Fault goes again.
27
@26 And Sandi's book makes it clear that the Seattle fault poses more of a threat to our city, despite its title.
28
@23: good grief. try and relax down there in your bunker.
29
@16 Keep it up, dude. While you're busy ranting about something completely irrelevant, we're gonna be stealing your water and MREs. See? You ARE good for something!
30
Everything in Seattle west of I-5 is built on landfill - meaning, the Seattle waterline was originally at I-5, and I-5 was built along that line of slightly more stable ground. This is another reason why downtown Seattle will be "toast". Being built on swampland, it has a very good chance of liquifying and becoming something like quicksand.

Everything south of the Seattle Fault (the east-to-west line through downtown Seattle) has lowered with each quake along it, while everything north of it has risen. So after a quake,south Seattle has more of a chance of being flooded as it will suddenly be further below sea level. But the amount that south Seattle will subside is dwarfed by the amount that north Seattle will rise. I'm not sure I'd like to be standing on Alki Point when it suddenly rebounds upwards by 10+ feet.

Of course, it's most probable we will either be asleep in our beds or at work downtown...
31
After reading that New Yorker article, I can only say.. What? And you guys stay living there? Get the hell out.
32
@30 barely anything westof I5 is built on landfill outside of a few blocks of waterfront and the stadiums.
33
@31: Because we'd rather live in a nice place where an earthquake may or may not happen in our lifetime, as opposed to living in a shithole red state where tornadoes and/or hurricanes are guaranteed every year.
34
I read Doughton's book when it came out. It was wonderful and terrifying. Read the New Yorker piece when it went viral. Wonderful and terrifying. Read this here piece, and it was thoroughly entertaining. Thanks, Dan & Sandi!
35
From the New Yorker article:
"Where we stumble is in conjuring up grim futures in a way that helps to avert them. That problem is not specific to earthquakes, of course. The Cascadia situation, a calamity in its own right, is also a parable for this age of ecological reckoning, and the questions it raises are ones that we all now face. How should a society respond to a looming crisis of uncertain timing but of catastrophic proportions? How can it begin to right itself when its entire infrastructure and culture developed in a way that leaves it profoundly vulnerable to natural disaster?"

Seattle society responds to looming crisis as the equivalent of surviving a Starbucks wait line for a cup of bastardized joe to go.

36
@23: Homes sliding off their foundations is pretty easy to avoid by...bolting them to the foundation. Required by code for new construction and easily retrofitted to older ones. There's a lot of stuff to worry about here, but that's one thing that homeowners actually have some control over. Low-rise wood structures have pretty good seismic performance, thanks to wood being elastic.
37
@31 LavaGirl: This time I'm inclined to agree with @33 Escapee from S Idaho; home is where the heart is, and often decides what geological risks are considered acceptable (Australians deal with Great White sharks along the coastal beaches, right?). For a lot of people, just packing up, fleeing, and relocating from unsteady location A isn't easy or exactly feasible. Okay--for others, it's move to new location B on steadier ground. What's the economy like in this new region? Harry Truman (not the U.S. President, but an elderly, reclusive mountain man with 30 cats living near Toutle River in SW Washington) refused to evacuate Mount Saint Helens despite repeated warnings by seismologists and meteorologists alike about the pending historic volcanic eruption prior to 8:32 AM PDT on Sunday, May 18, 1980.

Regardless, it's a tough call on whether to stay or go. Thank you, Dan Savage and Sandi Doughton on a real wake up call. Maybe this well written and informative book and your equally insightful article can shine some light on overly enthusiastic promoters of the fossil fuel industry--particularly in Whatcom County that coal and crude oil trains are indeed a recipe for global disaster. I already live in an officlally declared blast zone, so my death should be relatively quick.

38
Fear mongering to the point you will go out and buy that emergnecy preparedness kit and ruin your day worrying about the Mega Quake scenario..PLEASE RESOURCE YOUR DATA KNOWLEDGE FIRST
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/e……...
Current seismic activity is in Lakeview Oregon, Medford Oregon..and Eugene Oregon..
What should be watched is the Lava that is welling up from the oceans floor..if that caps off and build pressure then there might be significant changes to the Juan De fuca Fault...The fault lines over Whidbey island WA "the 3 Sisters" and the Fault lines from Fall City to Bremerton need far more scrutiny and monitoring..as the tunneling of Big Bertha commences again and possibly exposes Seattle to potential shifts under the ground changing stabilty and potentials for quake activity to happen. Knowing where the actual fault lines are and what could be actually expected from them is more realistic than freaking everyone out about a Mega Quake..
I speculate that Sheppard Smith and the New Yorker staff writer
KATHRYN SCHULZ have been targeting trades on companies that sell emergency preparedness supplies on the Stock exchange in the wake of their yellow journalism that they have spread over the media about a "Mega Quake"...Some people will do any thing to sell the news..
I just wish for once they would actually report it!....
Being skeptical and saying I pose this question to an audience is fear mongering at it's worst.
Mapping this activity and what depth in miles is necessary to formulate possible mapping of Caldera activity that is chambered lava events underground that are linked across Oregon and are also in Idaho and Near Yellowstone national parks...
Juan De Fuca could become active if the Lava that is spewing under water off the Oregon coast some how caps itself or is capped in such geological event of a under ground quake should occurs in a way that a builds up of pressure, forcing tectonic plates to respond from it....The other hot spot near us is off Victoria Island BC near the faults that are directly through the San Juans and Whidbey Island...When ideas about the Bremeton m Bain Bridge island and is geographically concentrated fault lines and and faults that are directly under Seattle are focused upon... these are much closer faults that should be watched with more interest than the Juan De Fuca...
Pin pointing a chain forming active events and directives must meet certain criteria before the excitement does actually get to happen...so far Oregon is the focus for now..Jaun De Fuca has gone Silent.
39
For such a doomsday book this is a refreshingly humorous interview, I like the take and the light hearted angle taken, however yeah I have to say maybe Sandi Doughton should be doing a stand up routine about it cos some of her comments are hilarious. Thanks.