Experts Say Big Earthquake Imminent

, Posted: Fri, August 10 2012 at 6:42 PM, Updated: Fri, August 10 2012 at 6:46 PM

A 4.5 earthquake rattled off the coast near Newport Thursday... and Wednesday there was a 4 point nine quake in the same location.

Professor Harry Smedes has over 50 years in the field, and says it's not 'if' a big quake will hit.... but when. "I'm 85 and I think this thing is going to happen in my life time."

Concern has ramped up. Experts say a magnitude 9 earthquake is due. Smedes says, "The last one was in the 17 hundreds, we know that from Japanese record. That was 312 years ago. "

He continues, new data shows we're overdue. For the southern portion it's every 240 years. Experts say it's 9 months pregnant."

He tells us it's because the fault zone, about 50 miles off the Oregon coast, is locked and bulging.

What makes this event significant is the duration of the anticipated
quake. "It's going to vibrate and shake for 4-5 minutes," states Smedes. "Where as Haite was 40 seconds."

Even inland areas will experience shaking at a magnitude 7.

Those statistics prompt Smedes to warn residents: develop a culture of awareness. "People are going to get killed and be severely injured and we're going to be on our own for a week or two." He says we need to have evacuation plans, water, food, and first aid supplies on hand for every member of our family.

"I can't really comprehend the nature of the disaster, this is going to be so different," he remarks.
A disaster he hopes people will prepare for.

Smedes also reminds us: animals often sense these events right before they happen, so stay aware of them -- and your surroundings.
Professor Smedes has a Natural Disasters Pamphlet, which both SOU and Josephine County use. It's available online at

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