Eathquake musings

Short Memories

with 2 comments

It seems that the more “advanced” a society becomes, the shorter it’s memory.  The Andaman Islanders did  better in the 2004 quake than anyone else, and the previous big quake was hundreds of years prior.  Native Americans not only have a memory of the last Cascadia earthquake 311 years ago, they have a memory of the explosion of Mt Mazama (Crater Lake) ~ 7600 years ago.    We on  the other hand can’t remember much that happened before Twitter and Facebook.

Modern societies intentionally discard anything old.  So instead, we have to rely on science, not social memory for fill in what we have forgotten.  Even in Japan, the stone tablets warning of past great tsunamis (see were ignored mostly, and even they were not old enough to record the even larger tsunamis of the past, as many of them were washed away by the recent one.

Subduction zone earthquakes may have recurrence times of 500-1000 years, so human memory is really of little use.  In Cascadia, the 1700 AD earthquake was the most recent one, but not at all the largest.  The largest event probably occurred ~ 5900 years ago, and may have been ~ three times the energy of 1700.

Written by eqgold

April 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Is there any story on the Native American knowledge about Mt. Mazama? It’s equivalent to Noha flow for Jew-Christians


    Alexis Vizcaino

    November 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    • I heard a lecture in 2001 by a native American who said that the Klamath tribe had an oral history that included Mt. Mazama.
      This may be documented elsewhere, I don’t know. We have pretty good evidence that one of the Cascadia great earthquakes (T14) took place at virtually the same time (7625 +/-50 BP). I wonder if the legends include that too, or maybe it’s hard to separate out one cataclysm from another!



      November 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: