Scientists have discovered new fault lines near Mount Hood, OR. Given Mount Hood’s proximity to the Portland metropolitan area, the possibility of a significant earthquake in the major city has risen.
A fault is a fracture or split in the layers of the earth. These faults are often found near the boundary lines of tectonic plates. Active cracks in the earth’s crust can move and shift. When the fault lines shift, there is potential for an earthquake.
These new faults were discovered by scientists on the north, south, southwest zones of the Mount Hood area. As the crow flies, the mountain is approximately 50 miles from Portland.
The Mount Hood faults are capable of producing a 7.2 magnitude quake, researchers said in a news release, larger than the Loma Prieta earthquake that struck San Francisco in 1989, causing dozens of fatalities and widespread destruction.
The Mount Hood faults are closer to Portland than the epicenter of the Loma Prieta quake was to San Francisco so the damage could be worse – Oregon Live
These crustal faults are somewhat of a game-changer in terms of earthquake danger in Portland. According to the Oregon Live article, previously, Portland has only had to worry about subduction quakes that occur deeper in the earth. While subduction earthquakes last significantly longer than a crustal quake, they are not nearly as powerful.
2018 is a scary time and this earthquake potential only makes it scarier for the good folks in the PNW.