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The New York article The Big One written by Kathryn Schulz is representing the idea the the “big one” is also known as a huge earthquake coming soon and this time it will be bigger than ever. In the beginning, people did not really think about earthquakes happening since it was normal for them. In 2011 Japan had such a horrific earthquake but before they had already been experiencing three tiny ones in one week. Chris Goldfinger who is a paleoseismologist from Oregon State University was taught how long earthquakes are supposed to last for their magnitude to be indicated. While witnessing this type of earthquake, Goldfinger was astonished but also surprised at the same time. Goldfinger at first did not think the earthquake was as strong as they say, but as time passes, the shaking increased severely and Goldfinger and his co-workers had to evacuate from the seismology meeting. He felt like he was driving through the rocky terrains in a car without any shocks or that he was on a raft with high seas while the earthquake was going on. Goldfinger also mentioned that there were weird rattling noises and the flagpole at the top of the building was swinging like crazy. Goldfinger and his coworkers are fortunate enough that the building they evacuated from has a “seismic-safety technology” which allows the building to be stable on movable bearings rather than on its actual base. But this earthquake was so strong that it was swaying back and forth which caused a digging of a trench in their yard. This earthquake lasted about three minutes and now Goldfinger could tell that the magnitude was around eight or nine. Many people were surprised that it lasted so long.

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Yasutaka Ikeda who is a geologist argued against the fact that in the future, the nation should be prepared for an earthquake of a magnitude of 9.0 because in Japan there earthquakes and tsunamis have been unprepared and it was based on inaccurate information. Goldfinger began to notice that the shaking was starting to reach the four-minute mark this was a perfect representation of the Japanese Cassandra right that the planet was trying to prove. He thought witnessing this was pretty amazing since he and his coworkers were looking at a real-time revolution in earthquake science but immediately after they weren’t amazed anymore because they knew what was about to come. One of the coworkers pulled out his phone to be able to stream this experience from the Japanese broadcasting station which is shot by helicopters that flew out to the sea right after the earthquake started. Thirty minutes after Goldfinger went outside he saw that a tsunami rolled in on a two-inch screen. The earthquake of 9.0 and the tsunami together caused more than eighteen thousand people to die and a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant which added an estimated amount of two hundred and twenty billion dollars if the damage was done. Japan’s earthquake ended up being the most massive earthquake in the world’s history. Goldfinger has an idea that there will be more earthquakes in the future, but most people believe that the next big shock will be the San Andreas which nearly runs the length of California. This is known as the San Andreas since every fault line has an upper limit determined by its length, width, and how far it can slip. San Andreas is the most studied and best-understood fault line with an upper limit of 8.2 which is roughly six percent stronger than the earthquake in Japan in 2011.

On the contrary, above the San Andreas, there is another fault line known as the Cascadia subduction zone which goes seven hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. The “subduction” is referred to the planar in which one tectonic plate slides underneath another tectonic plate. In the southern part of the Cascadia, the subduction zone will give off a rupture with an 8.7 and 9.2 scaling which is very enormous. The tsunami has now diminished and the shaking has come to an end, but now the region will be unrecognized and many people will eventually die just like the San Francisco earthquake that happened in 1906. The Fema projects also believe that at least thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and twenty-seven thousand will be injured from the tsunami. With this information given, it would lead the agency to provide some type of shelter for the millions of people that are going to be displaced from food and water. Even though these numbers are just what is to be expected, it is truly difficult to realize that years ago no one even knew the Cascadia subduction zone had a massive earthquake. The Cascadia to this day is still a mystery since researchers are improving every day and are on the lookout for what may come.

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Analysis of ‘The Really Big One’: Critical Essay.
(2023, July 11). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 16, 2023, from

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