Earthquake's Impact on Local Dams

, Written by Kyle Aevermann, Posted: Thu, October 17 2013 at 6:10 PM, Updated: Thu, October 17 2013 at 6:22 PM

If a large magnitude earthquake were to strike our region, how would our local dams hold up? And what damage could they potentially do?

At the southern end of Lost Creek Lake sits Wes L. Jess Dam, one of 57 across the state.

Since oregon sits right next to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, geologists say the chances of a large magnitude earthquake is long over due.

Jim Bucks with the Army Corps of Engineers knows that an earthquake is bound to happen.

"If we were to have a major earthquake here, we would anticipate there would be some damage to the dam, but it wouldn't be here one instance and gone the next," said Jim Buck, from Army Corps of Engineers.

Army Corps of Engineers monitor both of the dams at Lost Creek and Applegate Lakes.

Buck believes they would be able to withstand a large earthquake but there are of course certain factors.

"We tend to relate in magnitude, it's where the earthquake happens, if it's futher away the less likely the damage is likely be."

But the time of year also plays a factor of how much damage could potentially be done.

In May both reservoirs are both full.

To insure that doesn't happen, they are always inspecting the dam wall.

But only time will tell what damage will be ultimately be done.

Bottom line, the Army Corps of Engineers say that the dams at Lost Creek Lake and Applegate Lake would likely hold up, even in a large earthquake.

We also contacted several of the local irrigation districts who monitor smaller sized dams such as Howard Prairie and Emmigrant Lake and they also say they believe those dams would also be able to withstand a large earthquake.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Kyle Aevermann

Kyle Aevermann reports weekdays and anchors NBC 5 News Weekends. He joined NBC 5 News in March 2012 as a morning producer and reporter. Prior to joining KOBI, Kyle interned at KISL-FM on Catalina Island, CA. He was also a regular contributor to CNN's citizen journalism program.

Originally from the Chicago-land area, Kyle moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 to work in the social media industry. Kyle enjoys hiking, traveling, learning about cultures, and has a serious love for food.

Catch Kyle anchoring weekends on NBC 5 News at 6pm and 11pm.

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