Mega Quake Preparation In the Pacific North West
City University Seattle
On February 28th 2001 a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck 38 miles south by southwest of Seattle at a depth of 33 miles causing millions in damage.Had the earthquake been more shallow the consequences would have been far more disastrous. An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of underground rock. Earthquakes can cause buildings to collapse and cause heavy items to fall, resulting in injuries and property damage. Earthquakes can happen anywhere at any time (ready.gov). Communities of the Pacific Northwest need to be prepared for earthquakes because of rapid growth in the region coupled with nearby fault lines and cheap business and home construction in the region.
Seattle and its suburbs are the largest population area of the region. Seattle has been growing steadily since the 1980s. In 2017 Seattle’s population hits an estimated 725,000 people( Balk). It gained 17,500 people between July 2016 and July 2017. Seattle has been ranked in the top four for growth among major cities for five consecutive years and has grown by 18.7% since 2010 which makes it the fastest growing city in the United States.
Nearby Fault lines
The Pacific Northwest could be affected by earthquakes from three major faults. The western half of Washington state is actually considered earthquake country by scientist. first there’s the Cascadia subduction zone running parallel to the Pacific coast from northern California past the northern tip of Canada’s Vancouver Island. The Seattle fault which runs east to west just south of downtown Seattle ends up near the cascade Mountains and west onto the Olympic Peninsula. Last but not least the South Whidbey island fault running from northwest to southeast of the southern tip of Whidbey Island any of these fault-lines are capable of quakes from magnitudes of seven to over nine on the Richter scale (Farley, G). Communities of the Pacific Northwest need to be prepared for Earthquakes because the dense population, nearby fault lines and the construction of homes really close to water. The people of Seattle should prepare now in order to survive during an earthquake.
The February 28, 2001 earthquake known to the region as the Nisqually earthquake caused many millions of dollars in damage And that many businesses scrambling to complete seismic upgrades to lessen the impact should a quake strike again in the city. The quake-prone old 520 Bridge and Alaskan Way Viaduct have now been replaced; the 520 bridge with a new, stronger bridge and the viaduct with the brand new downtown tunnel that just opened earlier this month
(Komo news staff ). Seattle building officials say that the most dangerous type of structure to be in during an earthquake is a building made of brick with un reinforced walls that are not bolted to the floor. According to a list released by the city in late April Seattle contains Over 1000 buildings with unreinforced brick construction. At any given moment at least 30,000 people in Seattle maybe within unreinforced walls that have never had a seismic upgrade (Gilbert, D. & Doughton, S).
Seattle’s rapid growth coupled with the host of nearby fault lines and outdated construction including many unreinforced brick buildings containing at least 30,000 people at any given time puts Seattle in constant threat of danger from earthquakes. It is evident that anyone in Seattle or the surrounding areas needs to be prepared, aware and ready to deal with an earthquake because sure disaster is only one quake away.
Balk, G. (2018) 114,000 more people: Seattle now decades fastest-growing city in all of U.S. Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.
Farley, G. (2017) Why you should be prepared: Three big earthquake threats in the PNW. Retrieved from https://www.king5.com
Gilbert, D. & Doughton, S.(2016) Buildings that kill: The earthquake danger lawmakers have ignored for decades Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com
Komo news staff (2019) 18 years after 6.8 quake rocked Seattle area, impacts still felt today
Retrieved from Komo Four News
Ready.gov (n.d.) official website of the department of homeland security Retrieved from