Experts think it will trigger the worst natural disaster in North American history
Roughly 80 miles off the coast of Oregon, there's a place deep down inside the Earth that few people living along the West Coast know about. But they will someday, years or even decades from now.
That's because this is a place called the Cascadia subduction zone, where a pair of tectonic plates are now grinding up against one another under the Pacific Ocean, and they're headed -- slowly but inevitably -- toward a moment when the pressure now building there will become too great to bear.
When that happens, a huge swath of the Pacific Northwest will be engulfed in the worst natural disaster in the history of North America, writes journalist Kathryn Schulz in a terrifying new article published this week in the New Yorker, titled "The Really Big One."
The structure of the Cascadia subduction zone. (Wikipedia)
What do scientists think will happen?
A massive earthquake that would lay waste to thousands of homes and buildings, devastate the power grid and energy infrastructure, and even do things like causing the edge of the continent to drop by as much as 30 feet and liquefying solid ground.
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