Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Ghosts From Tonight 316 Years Ago
Tonight at about 9:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, a M9.0+ earthquake struck the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and Southwest British Columbia. It was generated by a full rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a large subduction zone roughly equivalent of the one which caused the Great Tohoku Earthquake in Japan in 2011. This event generated a Pacific-wide tsunami which caused damage in Japan where it was recorded by monks as an "orphan tsunami" as there was no quake in Japan to which it could be attributed. Given Native American oral traditions and tsunami deposits along the coasts of Oregon and Washington, it is clear that there were casualties among local peoples at that time. This earthquake generated lasting topographical changes where parts of the coast were sunk below sea level killing these sitka spruce trees whose roots previously had been in freshwater above the heavier seawater level and in some cases the forests were dropped into the sea as the ocean extended inland. Such a case happened with the Neskowin Ghost Forest along the Oregon Coast in Tillamook County. Before tonight I had not previously seen this haunting relic of not only the 1700 earthquake, but in the case of some trees, other such events over the course of the past two millennium or so. Over that period, successive great quakes have lowered the land in this region. However, the most recent event alone dropped this area by up to 30 feet in elevation.