Update: Earthquake hits Vancouver Island, felt in Seattle

September 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm | In Not WS but we're mentioning it anyway, West Seattle news | 56 Comments

1:04 PM: One WSB ‘er sent a note a few minutes ago asking if there had been an earthquake – she’s downtown in a high-rise and says they were swaying for several long minutes. We’re just now seeing the reports that indeed, there was a 6.7 quake on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Maybe we’re immune from growing up in Southern California, but we didn’t feel anything here in Upper Fauntleroy. You?


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1:21 PM: For those interested – here’s a data-laden page about this quake, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Service Survey. Also just added a Google map showing the epicenter. **NO** tsunami alert, per this link. The Vancouver Sun‘s ongoing coverage (the story is a little longer every time we’ve checked back) can be found here.

1:48 PM NOTE: You might recall that just yesterday, we mentioned that September is Preparedness Month. Can’t pass up another opportunity to implore you to be sure you really are prepared. If we had to point you to just ONE West Seattle-specific resource – it would be West Seattle Be Prepared (in particular, find and memorize your nearest “Communication Hub”). And any time you wonder whether you felt a quake, check here (though ironically, the BC quake is outside its range).

3:26 PM: Commenters asked about the Viaduct’s new automatic quake gates. We then asked WSDOT, which replied that it would take a quake of at least 5.0, “near” the Viaduct, to trigger them. (This one is now estimated at 6.4, but it was nowhere “near” us, relatively speaking.) WSDOT has since issued a news release saying it’s checked key structures to be sure the BC quake had no effects:

Inspection teams from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) are checking key transportation structures in the Puget Sound region after today’s earthquake near Vancouver Island. No damage has been found so far.

WSDOT crews have completed a visual inspection of the State Route 520 floating bridge and report no damage. They will do a more in-depth inspection in the coming hours.

The Alaskan Way Viaduct remains open and has been inspected visually, with no signs of damage. In addition, seismic sensors installed to trigger automatic gate closures to the structure show no impact from the Vancouver quake, now measured at 6.4. The sensors require an earthquake larger than 5.0 in the immediate vicinity before triggering gate closures.

Moveable bridges in the Seattle area, including the Montlake and 1st Avenue South bridges, also have been inspected, with no damage reported.

Due to the location of the quake, WSDOT crews also were sent to Skagit and Whatcom counties, including the Deception and Canoe Pass bridges. No damage has been reported there.

P.S. Thanks to Jim Edwards for pointing out this online seismic-activity tracker from Vashon, which clearly showed the quake.

56 Comments

  1. I did in Bellevue. Felt dizzy all of a sudden, then noticed my office blinds were swinging.

    Comment by Donna — 1:06 pm September 9, 2011 #

  2. We felt it in the International district on the 8th and 9th floors. Felt like it was inside of me at first, but then we noticed the lights and blind cords were swaying slightly. It did seem to last a minute or two.

    Comment by Lynn — 1:07 pm September 9, 2011 #

  3. California native, nothing in Admiral.

    Comment by KristinaNoir — 1:13 pm September 9, 2011 #

  4. I felt it in Belltown!I work on the 22nd floor and everyone in the office felt quite a bit of swaying! It did feel like vertigo or nausea at first…

    Comment by Lizzle — 1:15 pm September 9, 2011 #

  5. First one for me. YIKES! Sick to my stomach…I thought it was lunch :) Until I heard the creaking and the doors moving. Spooky…

    Comment by One More Opinion — 1:15 pm September 9, 2011 #

  6. Some of us felt it in our building we are at 5th and University downtown. Creaking building and then swaying.

    Comment by Jessica — 1:17 pm September 9, 2011 #

  7. I felt it, 32 floor above the westin hotel in belleuve, building was creaking and swaying for sure, felt like minutes but probably only 1 minute..

    Comment by fiona — 1:18 pm September 9, 2011 #

  8. I didn’t notice anything near Fauntleroy. Usually I’m very aware of earthquakes.

    Comment by Tuesday — 1:19 pm September 9, 2011 #

  9. Is the Viaduct still UP?

    Comment by JTK — 1:21 pm September 9, 2011 #

  10. We felt it here at the Chinook bldg which is at 4th and jefferson built I think on the old fill area from the days of the “flats” I think we swing a little more intensely here!

    Comment by John — 1:21 pm September 9, 2011 #

  11. In Two Union Square downtown on the 31st floor and didn’t feel a thing.

    Comment by Peter — 1:23 pm September 9, 2011 #

  12. I felt nothing on Alki.

    Comment by West Seattle mom — 1:23 pm September 9, 2011 #

  13. I felt it on 22nd floor in Bellevue. Just like others reported – I felt dizzy, then looked up and found a focal point outside and could see that our building was swaying very slightly. It’s weird how off-balance I felt from just the very slight tremor.

    Comment by WSFoodie — 1:26 pm September 9, 2011 #

  14. I work on the 19th floor of the IBM Building at 5th and Seneca and definitely felt the same kind of swaying described above. It lasted for several seconds, perhaps more than a minute. Our building was also creaking, my office door moved back and forth, as well as the blinds. This was my first earthquake and adrenaline is still pulsing through my body!

    Comment by Shane — 1:28 pm September 9, 2011 #

  15. Seems like only people in high-rises felt it here. Nothing on the ground floor at Seattle Center, nothing from a friend in Everett. Friends on the 15th floor in Bellevue say “that was a bit exciting.”

    I LOVE that link you posted, by the way WSB – it has the Mercalli scale, which makes more sense to the average person “how much does this earthquake matter to me?” not this crazy log-scale Richter scale thing we always use.

    Comment by Alice — 1:30 pm September 9, 2011 #

  16. Yah WSB!! I googled Vancouver Earthquake since we heard from business associates in Vancouver they had an earthquake and what is one of the only news stories to appear….West Seattle Blog! :)

    JTK – you just made me laugh. I thought the same thing!

    Comment by Megan — 1:33 pm September 9, 2011 #

  17. Didn’t notice anything in South Park. On the ground floor of a 2 story.

    Comment by Westie — 1:37 pm September 9, 2011 #

  18. Felt it in the Norton Building on 2nd and Columbia on the 15th floor — a little bit like a boat ride!

    Comment by Suzie — 1:39 pm September 9, 2011 #

  19. my dogs were going nuts and we did feel a swaying in Admiral

    Comment by Noelle — 1:43 pm September 9, 2011 #

  20. Felt nothing at Gatewood.

    Comment by Ellen — 1:43 pm September 9, 2011 #

  21. We felt this at Westlake Center!

    Comment by Me — 1:44 pm September 9, 2011 #

  22. just talked with a friend in Columbia tower, 41st floor. She said that she heard that it was people in highrises that felt it, but if you were closer to the ground, maybe not. Didn’t feel a thing here in Admiral…

    Comment by JanS — 1:46 pm September 9, 2011 #

  23. I work at KIRO Radio and didn’t feel anything here along Eastlake. :(

    Comment by zach — 1:51 pm September 9, 2011 #

  24. felt nothing in arbor heights.

    Comment by aimymichelle — 1:52 pm September 9, 2011 #

  25. Nothing on 2nd floor of the Central Seattle Public libray, 4th and Madison.

    Comment by Gina — 1:55 pm September 9, 2011 #

  26. Nobody where I work felt it and we are right by Key Arena. We didn’t even notice any blinds moving or anything.

    Comment by Mallory — 1:56 pm September 9, 2011 #

  27. Nothing in the admiral district. I’m constantly walking.

    Comment by newnative — 1:56 pm September 9, 2011 #

  28. Didn’t notice it near Lincoln Park….

    Comment by vance — 2:02 pm September 9, 2011 #

  29. Haha and I thought I was going crazy. I was on the 12th floor on 1st street and felt it.

    Comment by Kristy — 2:04 pm September 9, 2011 #

  30. Nothing noticed/felt in Gennesse area. No weird behavior from the dog or cat.
    Interesting trend that those off the ground in structures felt something and those on the ground did not.

    Comment by blueemerald — 2:08 pm September 9, 2011 #

  31. Curious how much shaking has to be felt here for the automatic gates to close the viaduct?

    Comment by John — 2:09 pm September 9, 2011 #

  32. We were on the 3rd floor . . . maybe that made a differance.

    I forgot about the automatic gates for the “death trap.” It would be interesting to know how much shaking it takes to close those!

    Comment by Noelle — 2:10 pm September 9, 2011 #

  33. 27th floor, creaking windows and rocking motion. Even checked to see if it had suddenly gotten windy and then felt unstable standing.

    Comment by Sharonn — 2:17 pm September 9, 2011 #

  34. Re: Viaduct gates – just for fun, I’m asking them via Twitter, where they’re of course quite active. The website says only “moderate to severe”:
    http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/sr99/viaductclosuresystem/

    Comment by WSB — 2:23 pm September 9, 2011 #

  35. I was on the viaduct and lived to tell the tale!

    Comment by Viaduct forever — 2:32 pm September 9, 2011 #

  36. Nothing in Kirkland. My cousin in Parksville, BC – Vancouver Island didn’t feel it either.

    Comment by JKJ — 2:37 pm September 9, 2011 #

  37. WSDOT replies via Twitter, “A 5.0 earthquake very near to The Viaduct would close the gates.”

    Comment by WSB — 2:39 pm September 9, 2011 #

  38. Above beach drive…
    Noticed water in swimming pool was sloshing very hard…didn’t feel anything.
    Asked if anyone felt an earthquake because of the waves in the pool…no one felt anything.

    Comment by Ed — 2:40 pm September 9, 2011 #

  39. only a little in north admiral, next to the viewpoint.

    Comment by homesick — 2:48 pm September 9, 2011 #

  40. Washington Mutual Towers on 3rd Ave downtown–felt nothing.

    Comment by Neo-Realist — 2:51 pm September 9, 2011 #

  41. Was in N. Admiral District at the time of the quake. Nothing felt.

    Comment by Aman — 2:52 pm September 9, 2011 #

  42. Genessee Hill – felt nothing.

    Comment by raincity — 2:52 pm September 9, 2011 #

  43. I was on the lower Spokane Street bridge, with it open. I got just a wee bit of a rumble just as it closed again, but nothing matching the duration described… then again, perhaps altitude and/or being on fill amplifies things…

    Comment by NinjaRider — 2:56 pm September 9, 2011 #

  44. I didn’t feel anything in the Admiral area but my mom on 42nd/Fauntleroy felt it. She thought it was the washer/dryer. I am so on edge now! I HATE earthquakes!!

    Comment by bsmomma — 3:03 pm September 9, 2011 #

  45. “Fauntleroy Heights” -didn’t feel it…I went through the 1989 Loma Prieta, CA quake….THAT was scary.

    Comment by onceachef — 3:09 pm September 9, 2011 #

  46. I was in The UofW Huskies Store on 4th in downtown Seattle. Didn’t feel a thing. Nobosdy else in the store (there were about 7 other people) said anything or had any kind of reaction.

    BTW _ I was born in Los Angeles and lived there for 31 years – I KNOW earthquakes!

    Comment by ces — 3:17 pm September 9, 2011 #

  47. Felt it high up in the Columbia Tower (a few floors below the Columbia Tower Club).

    Comment by K — 3:39 pm September 9, 2011 #

  48. The USGS is the US Geological SURVEY, not US Geological Service.

    Comment by Josh — 3:52 pm September 9, 2011 #

  49. Fixing!

    Comment by WSB — 4:09 pm September 9, 2011 #

  50. On Microsoft main campus in Redmond, ground floor, felt nothing.

    Comment by Brophy — 4:56 pm September 9, 2011 #

  51. I live at the corner of Roy and Melrose on Capitol Hill which is right next to the freeway (at the mercer overpass). Our building shakes every time a semi drives by. However I absolutely noticed a harder than normal shaking here on the 3rd floor around that time and the dog jumped up.

    Comment by Kris — 5:39 pm September 9, 2011 #

  52. Didn’t feel it here in Tucson, AZ?

    Comment by Leroniusmonkfish — 7:59 pm September 9, 2011 #

  53. This “immune” California native didn’t feel anything at Alki.

    Comment by Marie — 8:41 pm September 9, 2011 #

  54. I was downtown eating at Nordstrom’s Cafe, did not feel anything.

    Comment by Lola — 6:20 am September 10, 2011 #

  55. You said the earthquake was off the map you linked to. Like all Google maps you can drag them. Drag it to the right and down a little to see the Vancouver Island quake. Drag it up to see the quakes off the Oregon coast where they frequently occur. For world-wide quakes 4.0+, see http://www.iris.edu/seismon/

    @Lola: must have been good food. :-)

    Comment by Linda — 8:58 am September 10, 2011 #

  56. It wasn’t there when first linked but yes, it did turn up later. However, the point still applies to some NW earthquake resources – it wasn’t listed – I hadn’t realized before that there’s a bit of a divide! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:14 am September 10, 2011 #

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