The Great Quake and the Great Drowning: Indigenous people’s terrifying tsunami stories are a history and a warning.

Here, from Slate. An interesting article about Native oral history.  An excerpt:

In the year 1700, on Jan. 26 at 9 at night, in what is now Northern California, Earthquake was running up and down the coast. His feet were heavy, and when he ran, he shook the ground so much it sank down and the ocean poured in. “The earth would quake and quake again and quake again,” said the Yurok people. “And the water was flowing all over.” The people went to the top of a hill, wearing headbands of woodpecker feathers, so they could dance a jumping dance that would keep the earthquake away and return them to their normal lives. But then they looked down and saw the water covering their village and the whole coast; they knew they could never make the world right again.

That same night, farther up the coast in what is now Washington, Thunderbird and Whale had a terrible fight, making the mountains shake and uprooting the trees, said the Quileute and the Hoh people; they said the ocean rose up and covered the whole land. Farther north still, on Vancouver Island, dwarfs who lived in a mountain invited a person to dance around their drum; the person accidentally kicked the drum and got earthquake-foot, said the Nuu-chah-nulth people, and after that every step he took caused an earthquake. The land shook and the ocean flooded in, said the Huu-ay-aht people who are part of the Nuu-chah-nulth, and people didn’t even have time to wake up and get into their canoes, and “everything then drifted away, everything was lost and gone.”

. . . .

What the indigenous people knew all along, geologists have known only since 1984. Thomas Heaton was still in college in 1970 when geologists, who knew that the world’s largest earthquakes occurred where one tectonic plate descended under another one, first recognized that one of these subduction zones ran between the Juan de Fuca and North American plates. But the so-called Cascadia subduction zone had no record of ever producing large earthquakes. So, says Heaton, “they thought it was aseismic, just creeping.”

We appreciate your feedback, please leave a comment!

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s