To Bette and Ali, the people at the heart of my universe
(Foreword) Of the sixteen most disastrous earthquakes to have shocked the planet since 1900, no fewer than fifteen have occurred along the shores of the Pacific Ocean, around the notorious Ring of Fire - a crucial but generally unfamiliar component of which is the subject of this book, the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
(Introduction) On Christmas Eve 2004 my wife, Bette, and I were in a hotel bar in San Francisco dreaming up plot points for a film we'd like to shoot some day when a woman arrived from the airport with breathless news.
On the night of September 19, 1985, a jetliner packed with journalists, foreign rescue workers, and worried family members banked low across the flanks of Mexico City.
On a foggy spring morning just before sunrise, twenty-seven miles (43 km) northwest of Cape Mendocino, California, a pimple of rock roughly a dozen miles (19 km) below the ocean floor finally reaches a breaking point.
Explains that a major earthquake and resulting tsunamis are likely to occur off the Pacific Northwest coast any time within the next two hundred years, arguing that the effects of the disaster will be far worse than the damage from the 2004 Sumatran quake and tsunamis.… (more)