California Earthquakes Won’t Trigger the “Big One” in Oregon, but Portlanders Urged to Prepare

"It wasn't our turn this time."

Last Thursday and Friday, Southern California was hit by consecutive earthquakes that damaged homes, cracked roads, caused power outages and made messes of nearby grocery and liquor stores.

The tremors, which were 6.4- and 7.1-magnitude, were the largest to hit the region in 20 years. The faults that were triggered intersect the San Andreas Fault, which runs the length of the state and could set off a massive earthquake.

In the Pacific Northwest, an equal if not more menacing fault, the Cascadia Subduction Zone, threatens to trigger an earthquake of up to 9.2-magnitude. But experts say California's quakes aren't likely to trigger the Big One here, The Oregonian first reported.

Chris Goldfinger, an Oregon State University professor and earthquake geologist, says that because the San Andreas fault is "a very complicated system," that is connected to the Cascadia fault via the Ring of Fire—an area of high volcanic and earthquake activity in the Pacific Ocean—it's logical to question whether California quakes could set off Oregon's Big One.

But he says not to worry, yet.

"This one was far enough away that the chance of it affecting anything up here is low," Goldfinger says. "If there is a connection at this point, we don't know about it yet."

Still, California's rumbles remind Portlanders to prepare for the worst when the Big One does hit.

Related: PSU Students Help Design a New Burnside Bridge Before the Big One Hits. It Could Include a Bat-Signal.

That includes making safety plans and stockpiling emergency food, water, medicine and other supplies. The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management suggests that people set aside enough supplies for at least two weeks or more, and come up with sanitation, water treatment and financial plans in the case of a disaster.

Related: When the Big One Hits, Hundreds of Portland's Buildings Could Crumble. Is it Fair to Make Property Owners Prepare?

People with homeowners and renters insurance should also know that earthquake and tsunami damage is not included in most policies, according to the NW Insurance Council.

Of course, those who fear the end of the world can also seek lessons from doomsday preppers.

Related: Portland's Doomsday Preppers Will Help You Survive the End of the World. For a Fee.

"[California's earthquake] is a handy reminder that we all live on a big part of the plate boundary," Goldfinger says. "It wasn't our turn this time."