September 4, 2012
by Bill Steele
January nights are long in the Pacific Northwest and most of the thousands of residents of the Cascadia Coast had gone to sleep by 9:00 PM on January 26, 1700 before the the events began that would change their lives forever. This was the night of the last great Cascadia earthquake that rocked the ground for 5 minutes or more beginning at about 9:00 PM. Camps and villages near the where the earthquake started would have awakened to the vibrations of the "P'' or primary compressive waves followed 10s of seconds later by truly strong shaking from the "S" (secondary or shear) waves. Tribes more distant from the onset would experience the ground shaking becoming more violent over time as the Cascadia fault unzipped in their direction. Unknown to the people who scrambled to help their children and neighbors, a column of water, having been thrust up by the sea floor in the earthquake had collapsed into a tsunami wave train now headed for the coast. No one knows how many lives were lost that night, certainly hundreds, possibly thousands. Over one hundred died in Japan from the "orphan tsunami" that eventually hit their coast with out warning about 9.5 hours later. The stories of the survivors, passed generation to generation through oral traditions, remain as powerful and relevant reminders to us who await the next great Cascadia earthquake.
Ruth Ludwin, a research seismologist, joined the staff of the PNSN in the 1980s. Ruth began reading and exploring archives for Native American stories that seemed to reference earthquakes, ground failure, and floods first from personal interest and later with grant support. She produced a number of important papers providing references to original documents and her insights into possible layers of meaning contained in these stories. We have reorganized and adapted Ruth's original web pages on this subject and have published this material in "Native American Stories" under the Outreach and Discovery section of the PNSN Web site.
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- Speedy ETS in the works
- Peppy seismic swarm 20 km NW of Mount St Helens
- Glacier outburst flood on Mount Baker recorded by the PNSN
- Three new ways to view recent earthquakes in the Northwest
- M3.5 event west of Tacoma early Sunday morning
- Oregon ETS is over, but....
- Small swarm near Mount McLoughlin last night
- Earthquake early warning workshop quick report
- thePNSN Facebook discussions
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- The wech-o-meter takes over all of Cascadia
- Keystone Cops: Italy prosecutes seismologists for failure to predict deadly quake
- UFOs in eastern Washington? No, rather UTEs (Unidentified Terrestrial Events)
- New Sodo Seattle Liquefaction Array Installed
- Why we should constantly watch the deformation of the seafloor
- Mystery chirp near Newberry Volcano
- Planting seismographs causes earthquakes? or maybe ice-quakes?
- Tunneling rumbles south under Capitol Hill
- 15 years of mostly silent magma inflation near Three Sisters, Oregon
- Mount Hood earthquake swarm of Feb 23, 2012
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- How earthquake magnitude scales work
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- The Spokane Swarm about 10 years ago
- Another hum around Mount St. Helens
- Slow slip: A new kind of earthquake under our feet
- PNSN and social media
- 3am M3.4 earthquake in St. Helens Seismic Zone
- The wrong kind of volcano noise
- Fast chatter on Rainier an hour ago
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- Rainier Repeating Earthquakes Update and Comparison with Weather Patterns
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- Mount Rainier popping away
- Repeating Earthquakes on Mount Rainier - are glaciers the culprit?
- Debunking another SEC football myth by the PAC-12
- One year ago, Seattle Seahawks 12th Man Earthquake
- The odds this year of a megaquake on the Pacific Northwest coast
- Is the plague of great earthquakes this decade a sign of increased danger?
- Nile Valley landslide talks to PNSN seismologists
- Good vs evil in central US earthquake hazard analysis
- Why does a volcano scream?
- Predicting big quakes from patterns of little ones
- 1-hour warning for Japanese M9 earthquake?
- Sound Transit train under Interlaken keeps a rollin'
- Invisible changes under the hood at the PNSN
- Sound Transit Tunneling Noise
- "Visionary" toads
- Earthquake early warning in the PNW
- November (1)
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