Researchers are convinced that the recorded movement of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate can lead to a killer earthquake that would cause unforeseen devastation. According to them, a vast piece of land, located between Vancouver Island and Cape Mendocino, about 700 sq mi, might simply disappear.
This shocking prediction comes from a recently made, first of its kind map of the mantle under the tectonic plates. The model shows the movements caused by the ripples in the mantle 93 mi (150 km) beneath Juan de Fuca.
"This is the 1st time we've been able to follow the mantle's flow through the entire plate, so that we can understand plate tectonics as a whole, " says Richard Allen from the University of California, Berkeley.
To the great surprise of Allen's team, the mantle beneath one small part of Juan de Fuca moved differently from the rest of the plate, creating divisions in the zone.
Based on these data, scientists have managed to predict that a series of 9.0 magnitude (or even higher) mega quakes could hit certain regions of the North American west coast in the near future. This would-be future Apocalypse may occur in a zone no larger than 621 mi (1000 km).
"Such disasters may also occur in other unstable zones along the Juan de Fuca plate, including Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Northern California. The thickness of the plate there is 43 mi (70 km), which is enough to generate earthquakes with a magnitude of 9 on the Richter scale, " adds Allen.
All evidence indicates that Allen and his team are not just another bunch of doomsday prophets. The US government has taken their research into serious consideration. Recently, in some parts of the American Northwest, schools have put in mandatory disaster drills to teach kids what to do in the event of a natural disaster.
At the beginning of October, the recognized magazine The New Yorker came out with leading info that an earthquake would destroy a significant part of the Northwest coast of the US, as well as data about the measures taken by the government to alleviate the disastrous consequences brought on by an eventual mega quake.