West Seattle earthquake risk? New report for citywide briefing

April 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

Next Monday, the City Council is scheduled to get a briefing on the U.S. Geological Survey‘s latest scientific analysis of earthquake hazards in Seattle. The briefing slides have just been published along with the meeting agenda – see the presentation here. It’s part of an every-six-years process to update the hazard maps so that building codes (etc.) can take the conditions into account. Here’s the big headline:

That said – the Seattle Fault is the one closest to West Seattle, and the presentation says the chance of an earthquake stronger than magnitude 6.5 on that fault in the next 50 years is about 5 percent. The rate of that kind of earthquake anywhere around Puget Sound in the next 50 years is about 15 percent. As for a mega-quake on the coast somewhere, around 9.0 magnitude (akin to the one last year in Japan)? 10 to 14 percent chance of happening in the next 50 years. But don’t get complacent … if a 7.0-ish quake happened on the Seattle Fault, we’d be in the “extreme shaking” zone, per this scenario:

We’ll await Monday’s briefing (9:30 am at City Hall) for more context. But in the meantime, be sure you’re prepared – westseattlebeprepared.org can help (including the “Emergency Communication Hubs” – memorize the location of the one nearest you!).


  1. If the Big One comes, we’re screwed.

    Comment by Chuck & Sally's Van Man — 2:07 pm April 5, 2012 #

  2. Some areas may be more screwed than other,e.g., Georgetown and Rainier Valley.

    Comment by Neo-Realist — 4:11 pm April 5, 2012 #

  3. We have our food,water and supplies, then I saw a map of our house across from Lincoln park…the soil type is listed as Landslide fill. Something gets us all in the end, I guess an epic earthquake-landslide-tsunami is better than traffic accident.

    Comment by thistle stair — 6:51 pm April 5, 2012 #

  4. Sure, anything can happen but does that mean just throwing our hands up and not doing anything to prepare?

    The suggestions on the Emergency Communication Hubs site are excellent, starting with knowing where to duck and cover in each room of our house, and what to do if we’re at a restaurant or work. And if we happen to be home, where our nearest hub is to get information and help.

    A few weeks ago I ordered a Red Cross emergency crank/solar radio and iodine tablets for purifying water for my emergency kit. I still have a lot to do but feel better knowing that at least I’m chipping away at the list.

    Also, if we can organize by blocks or neighborhoods, then we have a better chance at getting through whatever happens, since everyone has different skills. As long as we’re still alive, we have the potential to do SOMETHING.

    Comment by ws_s — 7:11 pm April 5, 2012 #

  5. Forewarned is forearmed. Plus, now we have a BIGGER Beer Junction reservoir if needed! Planning IS everything.

    Comment by Aman — 8:05 pm April 5, 2012 #

  6. Just so you know the cities EOC is on the Seattle fault line….oops.

    Comment by steve — 11:27 pm April 5, 2012 #

  7. one thing to consider is earthquake retrofitting your home(which involves pulling apart your basement walls, etc.) and putting it all back again. Also consider a earthquake gas valve. These will help save your life if it hits while you’re asleep.

    Aman yes, thank gosh for Beer Junction also….

    Comment by KN — 11:55 pm April 5, 2012 #

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