PORTLAND -- A 8.2. earthquake that struck Tuesday off the coast of Chile, killing 6, is an all-too-important reminder about what would happen in Oregon if a major earthquake struck in the Cascade Subduction Zone.

According to a study released just last year, its not a question of if, but when a magnitude 9.0 quake will hit in the 700-mile fault line just off the coast.

Geologist report that over the past 10,000 years, earthquakes above magnitude 8.0 have hit along the subduction zone more than 40 times.

The report estimates between 1,250 and 10,000 people could be killed, and economists estimate around $30 billions in damage would be done.

After the Feb., 2010 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Maule, Chile was able to restore 90 percent of communication services withing tow weeks. After the March 11, 2011 Tohoku Earthquake, Japan was able to restore 90 percent of its power withing ten days.

According to Oregon's study, the state could be without power or water for months.

I think the bottom line for us is just

to acculturate this event in Oregon so that we all know that this is going to happen someday, said Jay Wilson with the Oregon Seismic Safety Police Advisory Commission. Every time we build a new building, a new bridge, the Cascadia event becomes the underpinning for how we need to design for it.

Recently, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber appointed a task force to come up with actions the state can take how to lessen the impact of a large quake.

That task force will report its findings to the state legislature next year.


KGW reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report.

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