The anti-LNG people seem to think that when the ‘big one’ – a 9.0 earthquake – hits our area, the Jordan Cove LNG facility will be the only thing to worry about. No I think the earthquake itself will be the thing that everyone should be deeply concerned about.

I’d hate to be driving across the McCullough Bridge, or any other bridge, out on the ocean in a fishing boat, anywhere in the low lying areas in Coos Bay or any other Oregon coastal city built on former mudflats, having a home on a slope or above steep ground or less than 100 feet above sea level, being in the vicinity of tall trees or buildings, or any of the many other situations where catastrophic devastation could occur.

Having an LNG storage tank that is engineered to withstand such an earthquake and will be at least of 2 miles and more away should be a minor worry for most people. One geologist said that basically everything west of I-5 will be toast. Bridges, roads, electric power, airports, communication networks, and all other major infrastructure would be severely damaged and might take years to restore.

In 1993 my family and I were living about 60 miles west of the epicenter of the Scotts Mills earthquake, a 5.6 earthquake. It shook our house in the morning hours enough to wake us up and caused the face of a large nearby rockpit to collapse to the floor of the rockpit. That was categorized as a moderate earthquake with usually minor damage.

According to Wikipedia A 9.0 quake might last five minutes or longer and cause objects to be thrown into the air and blocks of land to sink or raise up along with deep cracking. Major earthquakes of this magnitude occurs along the Cascadia subduction zone along the western United States coast on average about every 500 years with a range of 390 to 570 years. The last major earthquake occurred in 1700 and was estimated to be in the 8.7 to 9.2 range with land dropping an estimated 66 feet. In 2010 geologists said that more volatility should be expected and gave a 37% chance of a greater than 8.2 quake occurring within the next 50 years. That should be the worry and what we try to prepare for if that’s possible.

Keith Comstock

Myrtle Point

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