The Cascadia Basin is the last remnant of the original eastern Pacific oceanic plate, the Farallon Plate, which has been almost entirely subducted beneath North America. The Cascade Range of volcanoes in Oregon and Washington State, including Mount St. Helens, are a product of this subduction. Mount St. Helens erupted in a catastrophic explosion in 1982, killing 57 people, and still shows signs of activity. Earthquakes and associated tsunamis are also a risk in the area, although the last major earthquake is thought to have been in 1700. The underlying ocean crust appears to be split into three small plates. The largest is the Juan de Fuca Plate, named after a Greek sea captain who explored the area for Spain in 1592. The Explorer Plate lies to the north and the Gorda Plate to the south.
- Area 66,000 sq. miles (170,000 sq. km)
- Maximum Depth 9,600 ft (2,930 m)
- Inflows Pacific Ocean; Columbia, Fraser rivers