April 23, 2008

Oregon earthquakes update, books of note

Another series of earthquakes added to the geological mystery off the Oregon Coast on Monday.Four sizable quakes rumbled off the coastline in a span of four hours Monday night.The largest, a 4.1 earthquake located 115 miles west of Port Orford, occurred at 7:17 p.m.Over the past several weeks, there have been hundreds of small quakes west of the coastal towns of Bandon and Port Orford. They have varied in magnitude from 3.0 to above 5.0.

Scientists have said they don't know exactly what the earthquakes mean, but they could be caused by molten rock rumbling away from the recognized faults off Oregon.Monday night's earthquakes:

  • 7:17 p.m., 115 miles west of Port Orford, 4.1 earthquake.
  • 7:58 p.m., 92 miles west of Bandon, 4.0 earthquake.
  • 9:35 p.m., 103 miles west of Bandon, 3.9 earthquake.
  • 10:41 p.m., 107 miles west of Port Orford, 3.7 earthquake.

  • Related:
  • Report An Earthquake To USGS

  • There may have been 600 earthquakes recorded off the Oregon Coast in recent weeks, but it took an imaginary quake to get volunteers with the local American Red Cross office shaking.

    Luckily, none of the recent tremors caused any damage on land, but if any did in the future, local Red Cross volunteers want to be ready.

    That’s why about 80 community members, including some 35 Red Cross disaster relief volunteers, pitched in over the weekend for a disaster response drill through the Oregon Pacific Chapter of the American Red Cross Roseburg branch.

    Roseburg’s George and Virginia Roth, who started volunteering with the disaster relief program following Hurricane Katrina, came up with the idea to practice the scenario about a month ago.

    “I couldn’t think of anything else that would provide us with fires, floods, road closures and house damage,” George Roth said Friday morning, about a half-hour before the imaginary 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit the area. “I didn’t plan it to correspond with the 600 earthquakes off the coast.”

    With around 60 dams in Douglas County, several of which have a high risk for damage in an earthquake, Roth said the potential for widespread flooding and landslides is not far-fetched.

    A large-scale earthquake could also turn homes to rubble and damage natural gas lines, leading to fires.

    Photo by JON AUSTRIA/ N-R staff photo
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    Oregon News
    Red Cross volunteers remove items from an Emergency Response Vehicle, Friday. The local office of the Oregon Pacific Chapter of the American Red Cross conducted a disaster readiness exercise Friday and Saturday.
    JON AUSTRIA / N-R staff photo
    With so much destruction to the community, hordes of people would have to evacuate their homes. The Red Cross is mandated to set up emergency shelters for community members, so volunteers spent Friday morning setting up blue and green cots and dining facilities at the New Life Christian Center near the Red Cross headquarters, located on Alameda Street.

    Some community members had agreed to play the part of victims whose homes had been damaged in the earthquake, and headed to the shelter where volunteers assessed their needs.

    Other Red Cross volunteers practiced assessing damage to homes, sending out communications through radio and assessing medical needs.

    The Douglas County Health Department, the Civilian Emergency Response Team, the Amateur Radio Emergency Services, the Roseburg fire and police departments, the Salvation Army, and the county’s health and social services department and emergency operations center also participated.

    So you know ...
    • Interested in volunteering for the American Red Cross disaster relief program? Call the Roseburg office at 673-3255 for more information.

    • For more information about how to prepare for a disaster, visit www.redcross.org
    Roseburg High School’s Health Occupation Students of America group and the Red Cross First Aid Support Team pitched in, while local restaurants and stores also provided food for the exercise that helped sustain the “victims” who stayed in the shelter Friday night.

    The Roths and Jim Caplan, Red Cross district director, said as far as they know this was the first exercise of its scale undertaken in Oregon. The drill continued over a 30-hour period.

    “It’s not just the Red Cross people,” Caplan said. “It’s people from throughout the community.”

    The purpose of the drill was to identify strengths and weaknesses in the abilities of the volunteers and the community to handle a disaster.

    But Caplan and the Roths emphasize that community members bear responsibility as individuals as well. Residents should always keep at least 72 hours’ worth of food and water in their homes, along with other supplies such as a portable radio, a flash light and a list of contact information for relatives.

    “Individual and community preparedness is our single best proactive thing to do,” George Roth said.

    Comments (who do YOU believe? Think about Hurrican Katrina!! They were an officially-sanctioned DISASTER squad!!)

    Re: Red Cross stages disaster response drill
    by Anonymous on Monday, April 21 @ 17:02:23 PDT
    Watching the Local Red Cross in action at this training session a wise person might just make sure they can take care of their own family and not rely on the Red Cross. It had the look of chaos aplenty.
    I hope they improve. It looked like way too many volunteers bossing others around, without knowing what they were supposed to do...
    It seemed that the ham radio people had more training, than the Red Cross people did.
    Maybe this Red Cross office here has never really put in any time with disaster training.
    Oh well, they are good at getting blood donations..

    [ Reply to This ]

    Re: Red Cross stages disaster response drill
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 22 @ 12:28:16 PDT
    When you need the Red Cross, we will be there. For example, we repond to dozens of Douglas County house fires every year, providing people with clothing, shelter, and food. As it was on 4/18, every exercise begins with some confusion. In this case, it was straightened out quickly and the shelter was up and operating in short order. With the active involvement of our partners, we hosted about 25 "clients" overnight and fed more than 50 people at a time. This was the first full-scale shelter exercise in Roseburg in at least a decade. We learned a lot that will help us improve in the future. Anyone is welcome to join the Red Cross and contribute to the community. Our extensive disaster training courses are free to disaster volunteers. I agree with the commenter that every family should work hard to be prepared. We have preparedness orientation and information available for free to families and community groups. Just call us at 673-3255.

    "Cap" Caplan, District Dire


    The 2008 National Earthquake Conference, if nothing else, will go down as having benefited from good timing. Starting today (Tuesday, April 22) and continuing through April 26, conferees gathering in Seattle, Washington can talk among other things about the Friday, April 18 earthquake that originated in Illinois and had after-shocks that were felt days later. Indeed, the event renewed media interest in the New Madrid (Missouri) seismic zone, site of a momentous series of earthquakes in 1812. The 2008 National Earthquake Conference is chaired by the four national earthquake and emergency consortia groups funded by FEMA under the National Earthquake Program (the Northeast States Emergency Corsortium, Central United States Earthquake Consortium, the Western States Seismic Policy Council and Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup), the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the Emergency Preparedness for Industry and Commerce Council (EPICC) of British Columbia, Canada.

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