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February 28, 2011
Earthquake Risks Aren’t Just In Western Washington
Featuring Tim Walsh, Washington State Chief Hazards Geologist, DNR Division of Geology and Earth Resources.
(ANNOUNCER) It’s been 10 years since the Nisqually earthquake a few miles north of Olympia. The 6.8 magnitude quake shook the Puget Sound area on February 28th, 2001, causing 400 injuries and millions of dollars in damage.
Tim Walsh, the state’s chief hazards geologist, says the state capital escaped more serious damage because the Nisqually quake was deep – more than 30 miles below the earth’s surface. If it had been a shallower earthquake, like the recent 6.3 magnitude one in Christchurch, New Zealand, things could have been much worse.
(Tim Walsh) audio cut one: 27 seconds
“The earthquake in New Zealand, the most recent one that happened in February, was a magnitude 6.3 but it occurred at a depth of about 5 kilometers, or about 3 miles. These shallow earthquakes tend to be much more damaging at least in the local area where they occur, but they tend not to be as damaging over as large an area as a deep one would be. And so the Nisqually earthquake was widely felt over a much larger area but was not as intense.”
(ANNOUNCER) Even though Western Washington is home to several well-documented earthquake faults, including the one that caused the Nisqually earthquake 10 years ago, people living in Eastern Washington also face earthquake risks. Many counties east of the Cascades have risks for shallow earthquakes, like the one in New Zealand, that can cause great damage in a local area.
(Tim Walsh) audio cut two: 25 seconds
“The earthquake risks are higher in Western Washington than in Eastern Washington but Eastern Washington does get earthquakes that are on shallow crustal faults like the ones we hear about all the time in California or for that matter like the one that just ruptured in New Zealand. These are closer to the surface so they cause more damage because there’s less spreading of the earthquake energy away from its focus.”
(ANNOUNCER) The Washington State Department of Natural Resources helps local government planners, engineers, builders and citizens to understand the earthquakes risks in their area. DNR has published earthquake risk maps for every county in the state. They can be found by going to the department’s website at www.dnr.wa.gov and searching for the “Washington State Geologic Information Portal”
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Media Contact: Bob Redling, Senior Communications Manager , 360-902-1149, email@example.com