The Canary Island of La Palma was hit on Wednesday by an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, making it the largest detected in the region since the eruption of the new volcano began on September 19. According to Spain’s National Geographic Institute (IGN), the quake was recorded at a depth of 37 kilometers at around 1am, and was felt by residents on the island. It was one of more than 50 tremors to hit La Palma during the early hours of Wednesday. The earthquake was recorded just hours after another neighborhood on La Palma was forced to evacuate due to the advance of a lava tongue. The decision affected around 15 residents in an area of Los Llanos de Aridane, who were given until midnight to take everything they could – including their pets – from their homes, and travel to a meeting point at Campo de Lucha Camino León in Los Llanos de Aridane.
The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a sleeping monster lurking just off the Northwest coast of the United States. It extends 600 miles between Northern California and Vancouver B.C. and experiences a massive megathrust earthquake every 250 years on average. The last one happened 321 years ago and scientists say there is a 30% chance we’ll see another in the next 50 years. It’s expected to rival the 9.0 quake that shook Japan for 6 minutes, which was the most destructive natural disaster in human history. It unleashed a tsunami that reached 100 feet in some areas, caused an estimated $360 billion in damages and claimed some 16,000 lives.
If this sounds ominous, that’s because it is. As catastrophic as the Tohoku quake was, Japan is light years ahead of the United States when it comes to earthquake preparedness. This grim reality has many experts very worried. And in this episode of Weathered we spoke with some of them about what we can expect when the “Big One” does hit, the kinds of work that need to be done to make our communities more resilient, and what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Weathered is a show hosted by meteorologist Maiya May and produced by Balance Media that helps explain the most common natural disasters, what causes them, how they’re changing, and what we can do to prepare.
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