Special Earthquake Report No: 01-007

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Preliminary Magnitude:

Moment Magnitude:

Greenwich Mean Date:
Greenwich Mean Time:
Focal Depth:
Analysis Quality (A-D):


M 6.8 (NEIC)

Mw 6.8 (NEIC)

18:54:31 (10:54:31 a.m. PST)
49.0 km

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(Olympia M7.0 earthquake)





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OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, February 28, 2001 (Seismo-Watch) -- A strong earthquake measuring Mb 6.8 occurred at 18:54 UTC (10:54 a.m. local time), Wednesday morning in the south Puget Sound region of Western Washington. (See Seismo-Watch EQ Alert Bulletin / Subscription info / Pacific Northwest Seismic Network Bulletin).
The earthquake was centered 36 miles southwest of Seattle and 11 miles northeast Olympia at Anderson Island (See Maps). The focal point was at the moderate depth of 49.0 km beneath the surface, placing the earthquake in the subducted portion of the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate beneath the North American Continent (See Cascadia Subduction Cartoon)
The fault plane solution indicated high angled, normal-slip motion along a generally north-south trending plane, with a slight oblique component (NEIC moment tensor, Harvard moment tensor) The quake was centered very close to the epicenter and depth of the 1941 Olympia, Washington M7.1 earthquake.
The quake was widely felt in the Puget Sound metropolitan area causing widespread moderate damage throughout the region. Shaking was felt as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah, and Las Angeles, California. There have been no reports of fatalities, although dozens were injured, some seriously.
? Send us your descriptions.
Some walls and roofs have collapsed but there have been no reports of total structural failures. Most of the severe damage appears to be in the older building stock of the region.
Some of the damage in the epicentral region (souther Puget Sound) has been to roads due to landslides. Highway 101 north of Shelton was reduced to one lane due to a landslide. Ground failures occurred in the area of the Holmes Island Bridge and some roads showed cracks in downtown Olympia.
An outfitter store in Olympia reported a south wall of their building has collapsed into the alley behind the store. A bank building near the capitol may have collapsed (but that is an unconfirmed report). The Capital building sustained a large crack in the dome and some piller damage was reported.
There is ceiling damage reports at one high school while another school is reporting very large cracks on the outside of one building on campus. There are reports of significant damage from residents on Steamboat Island including landslides, damage to phones and downed trees.
The Geology Society of Canada indicates some damage occurred on Whidbey Island - specifically, Langley and Sydney (south of Oak Harbor). Apparently, there may be more damage to the islands in the Sound, than on the mainland.
More information will be added shortly.
Additional Resources: (Sites will appear as pop-up windows)
U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazard Program Special EQ Report.
Earthquake Hazards Program - Pacific Northwest.
Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology Special Page.
Special Earthquake webpage from USGS/Univ of Washington.
Berkeley Seismological Laboratory Special page.
Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network.
Earthquake Information Network (EQnet).
Sources: USGS, IRIS, UC Berkeley, personal communications.
Update: 4:30 p.m., February 28, 2001.
Information contained within this report may not be disseminated without prior written consent from Seismo-Watch, Inc.
Copyright (c) Advanced Geologic Exploration 2001

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Subtract 8 hours from Greenwich Mean Time to obtain PST or 4 hours for EDT
Location Quality: A (good), B (fair), C (poor), D (bad)
Magnitude: Ml (local or Richter magnitude), Lg (mblg), Md (duration), Mb (body wave), Ms (surface wave), Mw (moment)

Standard Sources Include:
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center, Golden, CO (NEIC)
Harvard Geophysical Observatory, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (HRV)
U.S. Geological Survey, Northern California Seismic Network (NCSN)
University of California, Berkeley, Seismological Laboratory (UCBSL)
Southern California Seismic Network (USGS & Caltech), Pasadena, California (SCSN)
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (Caltech)
various wire reports and/or personal communications

All data are preliminary and subject to change.
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