OSU researchers find evidence of 300-year-old earthquake, tsunami

Oregon Coast

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Researchers with Oregon State University found evidence inside tree rings of an earthquake and tsunami that happened more than 300 years ago.

According to the researchers, samples from trees near Newport show reduced growth following the 9.0 quake in January 1700. It triggered a tsunami that battered the Pacific Coast.

“The tsunami appears to be the event that most affected the trees’ growth that year,” said Robert Dziak, a Hatfield Marine Science Center-based scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. “Getting these little bits of the picture helps us understand what we might expect when the next ‘big one’ hits.”

Modeling shows the coast could have been inundated by as much as 30 feet of water.

The research is important to find out more about future earthquakes. The quake in 1700 was the last major one to hit the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

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