Unlike the earthquakes that have done incredible damage to Haiti, Chile, and New Zealand, the earthquake in Japan has rocked the American psyche. Not only is our stock market in freefall, but the "renaissance" of nuclear energy is now being questioned in a way that was unthinkable before.
Because if it can happen to Japan, it can happen to us. That seems to be the opinion, anyway. Nevermind that an earthquake in Haiti could very well set off a tsunami that batters an already fragile Gulf Coast...
But it does awaken some folks to the risks "the big one" poses to American cities. While we all suspect San Francisco and Los Angeles are tops on the list, you can't forget about Seattle. Maybe the city leaders in the Northwest, the people who live there, and the political federal authorities who will be tasked with response will take their scenario simulations more seriously than past worst-case scenarios that later proved prescient.