Cascadia Earthscope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program or CEETEP, was made possible by a grant from the EarthScope program of the National Science Foundation. There focus is to provide earthquake and tsunami science and preparedness workshops for coastal educators.
In all for the Aberdeen location 31 educators, emergency management personnel and museum interpreters attended the session and taking from this a greater understanding of the current issues in our communities and a willingness to bring what they have learned to the greater public.
"This project is an outreach program, a 15 year project studying the North American continent to understand how our continent fits together and its hazards," said Beth Pratt-Sitaula a research associate at Central Washington University.
Most of the projects funded by EarthScope are science related, but CEETEP is more of an outreach program to better assist coastal communities, like those in Grays Harbor, to learn just how the Cascadia Subduction Zone works and advance understanding of the region's geohazards.
Preparedness is a pinnacle focus for the training, and with that a little science must also be understood. Through a problem-solving approach to subduction zone geology, participants learn how geoscientists developed our current understanding of Pacific Northwest plate tectonics, earthquakes, and tsunamis; How EarthScope is advancing knowledge about the active earth in Oregon and Washington; and collaboration on education, interpretation, and preparedness to make coastal communities more resilient to earthquake and tsunami hazards.
In the audience members from Pacific County as well as Grays Harbor County work in teams to better understand the educational value, and collaborative efforts that will better serve their communities.
Representing Pacific County, Scott McDougall, Emergency Management Deputy Director discovered that even with his previous knowledge on the subject, there is always more to learn.
"We are not talking with run-of-the-mill scientist here, these people are on the cutting edge of research on the study of earthquakes and tsunami's."
McDougall is very concerned about the possibility of an earthquake in the subduction zone, "If there is a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, it is possible to see a magnitude of 9 - 9.2 on the rector scale. Within 20 minutes, a tsunami will follow. There is no guarantee that every time there is an earthquake that there will be a tsunami, but we need to be prepared for it.
If you are on the Long Beach peninsula and we have a 9.2 earthquake, you will not be able to drive off the peninsula. A huge amount of the peninsula will be inundated, people will not be able to get out. They will need to have a structure that will house them for a period of time. Something like a vertical evacuation shelter like they are talking about in Ocosta."
The three-year program of CEETEP is currently halfway in its cycle with its focus on the Cascadia subduction zone and will do a follow on session in Forks in October. The overall program drives its data from historical records of tracking earthquakes and tsunamis on an international scope. With recent occurrences in Japan, 2011, a 9.1 earthquake, the Indonesia quake ten years ago, also rated at 9.1 and the worlds largest earthquake in Chile, 1960 a 9.5 on the Moment Magnitude scale, researches believe that a similar size quake is destined for the area and want to have people prepared for the possibility.
"I am not saying that we are not prepared, but we can learn more and be better prepared," said McDougall.
With the recent more local natural disasters like the Oso mudslide, and the ever threat of wildfires, communities are looking at ways to be more vigilant when Mother Nature strikes. One example of preparation on a community level is the plans to make a vertical evacuation tower in, Ocosta and the possible relocation of an entire community of Taholah.
To learn more about the proper preparation in case of earthquake or tsunami contact the Grays Harbor County Department of Public Services Division of Emergency Management & Risk Management at (360) 249-3911 or visit their web site at HYPERLINK "http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/DEM/index.htm" www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/DEM/index.htm.