Major Quake to Rock U.S. Within 50 Years?

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Experts say a major earthquake could hit the United States within the next 50 years.

Oregon marine geologists predict it could exceed the magnitude 8 earthquake that struck Chili back in February.

Experts said there is a 37 percent chance the quake will strike an undersea area in the Pacific Northwest -- more precisely, an area from northern California to Newport, Ore. That is where the ocean floor slips below the North American plate.

A much more devastating quake has a 10 to 15 percent chance of hitting between Seaside, Ore., to Vancouver Island in British Columbia. An event of that magnitude occurs about every 500 years.

"It is not a question of if a major earthquake will strike, it is a matter of when," Oregon State University marine geologist Chris Goldfinger told LiveScience. "And the 'when' is looking like it may not be that far in the future."

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