National

Mar 2, 2010 2:30 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Northwest at risk of earthquake like one in Chile

The earthquake in Chile has brought new attention to a dangerous undersea fault along the Pacific Northwest.

The fault is capable of producing the same type of mega earthquake as in Chile and inflicting heavy damage on cities like Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.

The fault has been dormant for more than 300 years, but the consequences could be devastating when it awakens. Poorly constructed buildings could be toppled from Vancouver to Northern California, and a tsunami could result from such a quake.

The fault is part of several seismic hotspots around the globe where plates of the Earth's crust grind and dive. They are often called subduction zones.

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