raging water against dam
Photo: Bruce Forster/Getty Images
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Dam Break: Eugene, Oregon

Eugene will become a mere memory in the event of an earthquake. Forget that the city could be severely damaged if shaken by a possible 9.0 quake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a major earthquake hot spot in the Pacific Northwest. It's what could happen if any of the nine dams in the region are compromised by the quake: 40 feet of water cascading through the city, Hurricane Katrina–style. With intense flooding, buildings destroyed beyond repair, bridges collapsing, highways non-navigable, and homes left unrecognizable, most of the 137,000 residents would be affected and damages could be as high as $10 billion dollars.
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