A 6.0 magnitude eathquake rocked the floor of the Gulf of Mexico this morning.
In a 2003 report on disaster vulnerability by the National Science and Technology Council, we learn the following:

ON NOVEMBER 3, 2002, one of the largest recorded earthquakes to strike the U.S. rocked the interior of Alaska. The magnitude 7.9 quake caused countless landslides, opened 6-foot cracks in highways, shook homes and damaged supports to the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Effects of the 3-mile-deep quake extended for thousands of miles. It triggered microearthquakes at the Geysers geothermal area in northern California and at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. From Seattle to New Orleans, boats were tossed about and torn from moorings. As far east as Pennsylvania and Florida, USGS instruments recorded significant changes in ground-water levels immediately following the earthquake.

The earthquake resulted from a slip on the Denali fault, one of the longest continental faults in the world, stretching over 700 km (435 miles) across Alaska and southeastward into Canada. Amazingly, very few injuries and no deaths resulted from the quake, at least in part due to its remote location: 75 miles south of Fairbanks and 175 miles north of Anchorage. Long-term research and a commitment to hazard preparedness and mitigation also played key roles. For example, USGS scientists were instrumental in ensuring that the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline was designed and built to withstand the effects of a magnitude-8.0 earthquake with up to 20 feet of movement at the pipeline. These standards were considered to be excessively conservative at the time, but proved to be on target. The earthquake ruptured the ground surface under the pipeline and, although some supports were knocked out, the pipeline did not break. The resilience of the pipeline to the fault rupture is a testament to the importance of hazard mitigation in engineering design.

Full report, in pdf format, here.

A question — not an alarm —  in light of the good news this week about Jack 2: have our offshore oil and gas platforms and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico been constructed to similar standards?

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