Notable Earthquake of the Week

Nisqually, Washington M6.8 Earthquake, February 28, 2001

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A strong earthquake measuring M6.8 occurred at 10:54 a.m. PDT, on a Wednesday, February 28, 2001, in the southern Puget Sound region of Western Washington.

The earthquake was centered 36 miles southwest of Seattle and 11 miles northeast Olympia near Nisqually. The focal point was at the moderate depth of 52 km beneath the surface, placing the earthquake beneath the leading edge of the North American Continent in the in the subducted Juan de Fuca tectonic plate. The quake was centered very close to the epicenter and depth of the 1941 Olympia, Washington M7.1 earthquake.

The quake was strongly felt in the Puget Sound metropolitan area causing widespread moderate damage with some partial structural failures. Shaking was felt as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah, and Los Angeles, California. There were no reports of fatalities, although dozens were injured, some seriously. Many said the ground shook for nearly a minute.

Damage costs more than $500 million and repairs are ongoing today.

Liquefaction around the Puget Sound played a key role in much of the damage and landslides were common in the mountains.

See Seismo-Watch Special Earthquake Report.

See a large collection of links at the USGS Special Report web site.

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