Large earthquake would ravage Oregon

12:37pm, June 13, 2001

A magnitude 8.5 earthquake off the coast of Oregon would devastate portions of the state, kill thousands of residents, and wrack the economy there for years to come, according to recent analyses by state geologists.

Temblors of such immensity are infrequent but aren't unknown in the region, says Yumei Wang, a seismic engineer with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries in Portland. Sediments show that the Cascadia subduction zone, which runs along the state's coast, has spawned eight or nine earthquakes with estimated magnitudes greater than 8.0 during the past 8,000 years. These so-called great earthquakes happened at irregular intervals during that period.

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