Without necessarily writing the paragraphs out verbatim, we might think about what information you could incorporate into a three-paragraph paper. Your introductory paragraph should reflect the main argument of the article, and the two supplementary paragraphs should highlight evidence within the article that reinforces its overall main idea.
This is primarily an article about the dangers of earthquakes, primarily the enormous category-9 earthquake that has about a one in ten chance of happening along the Cascadia subduction zone. The author mentions that this has the potential to be the largest and most devastating natural disaster in the history of North America, with the potential to kill up to thirteen thousand people (in the US alone) and cause billions of dollars in damage. In your introductory paragraph, you would want to highlight the very real and very present threat that the Cascadia subduction zone has to create a massive, destructive tsunami that will devastate the west coast.
One of the central ways in which the author defends this point is by using empirical evidence of Cascadia derived from geology. He repeatedly refers to the work of geologist Chris Goldfinger and the signs that modern geological-scientific techniques provide scientists to predict, track, and observe tsunamis in action. Geology has proven that the Pacific Northwest lies directly in the middle of the Ring of Fire—an unstable zone that is practically made up entirely of underwater fault-lines. This puts California and Oregon at the greatest risk of destruction if the Cascadia zone were to suddenly jar westward. The author also remarks that, if the Cascadia tsunami were to occur, first we would become aware of it because of a massive seismic shockwave, which would not be dangerous but would give us about 60–90 seconds of forewarning before the tsunami hit. You can incorporate this information into another paragraph discussing why, geographically speaking, Cascadia is so dangerous and what scientists currently understand about the consequences of a quake.
Finally, you will want to identify the authors’s conclusion, in which he compares the situation in Cascadia with an “ecological reckoning.” The main question we need to ask ourselves, he states, is what can/should we plan to do in order to prepare ourselves for a disaster of unprecedented, catastrophic proportions? Understanding potential crises like Cascadia is not only a scientific endeavor but also a social and a moral one. For example, the author mentions how Doug Dougherty, superintendent for the school system in the Pacific Northwest, worries for the fates of his students. It would be impossible to evacuate all of the children from Oregon and California schools in time to protect them from the damages of a massive tsunamis such as the Cascadia subduction zone could cause. Thus, it is our responsibility as a society to come up with innovative solutions on how to contend with this possible catastrophe on the large-scale—scientific as well as social.