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Originally published Monday, April 1, 2013 at 2:46 PM

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Corps assesses danger from big quake at 20 NW dams

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is halfway through studies of the threat posed by a major offshore earthquake to its 20 dams in Oregon and southern Washington.

AP Environmental Writer

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. —

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is halfway through studies of the threat posed by a major offshore earthquake to its 20 dams in Oregon and southern Washington.

Dam safety program manager Matt Craig said Monday the agency doesn't expect any of the dams to fail to the point of losing their reservoirs, but there could be some damage.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone last let go more than 300 years ago, but scientists say it could go again at any time.

If it does, it is expected to produce an earthquake and tsunami similar to what hit Japan two years ago.

Since starting the studies 15 years ago, the corps has studied earthquake dangers at 10 dams. It plans to do five this year, and five more next year.

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