Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Earthquake! Did you notice that?

A seismic event with a magnitude of 4.3 occurred on Sunday evening at 7:21 p.m. PT, approximately 35 miles northwest of Seattle, just south of Port Townsend. This information is based on preliminary reports from both the USGS (United States Geological Survey) and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

Numerous individuals in various areas, including parts of Seattle, reported feeling the tremor. Fortunately, there is no anticipation of a tsunami, as confirmed by the U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center.

ShakeAlert, an automated system designed to provide advance warning in the event of an earthquake and impending shaking, did not activate on this occasion. This was due to the earthquake’s magnitude falling below the threshold of 4.5. ShakeAlert was introduced in the state of Washington two years ago and is also accessible in other regions along the West Coast.


The looming threat of a substantial earthquake has remained a concern in the Pacific Northwest region.

Seattle is situated atop two primary fault lines: the Seattle Fault, which traverses the city from east to west and has the potential to generate earthquakes of up to 7.4 magnitude, and the formidable Cascadia Subduction Zone along the coastal region, capable of producing a devastating magnitude 9 earthquake.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone extends over 620 miles, stretching from the northern edge of Vancouver Island, B.C., down to Cape Mendocino in Northern California. This geological phenomenon involves the subduction of tectonic plates beneath the ocean, where they do not smoothly slide but instead accumulate frictional stress that is eventually released in the form of a seismic event.

To address this concerning situation, the National Science Foundation recently allocated $15 million in new funding for the establishment of the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT), which will focus on extensive research of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Scientists at CRESCENT will meticulously examine the fault to pinpoint areas of heightened strain and endeavor to predict potential earthquake impacts, thus aiding communities in better preparedness for such an event.

The center’s headquarters will be located at the University of Oregon, with the University of Washington playing a leading role in this initiative. It marks the first center in the United States exclusively dedicated to the study of subduction-related earthquakes.

On February 28, 2001, the Seattle region experienced the Nisqually earthquake, registering at a magnitude of 6.8, which resulted in damage to buildings and roadways.

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