U.S.: 6.2 Earthquake, Seattle / Pacific Northwest

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Earthquake Shakes Pacific Northwest

AP Story Filed: Wednesday, February 28, 2001 2:17 PM EST

SEATTLE (AP) -- A strong earthquake shook the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday, shattering windows in downtown Seattle and rattling Portland, Ore., for nearly half a minute. There was no immediate word of injuries.

The magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit at approximately 10:55 a.m., according to federal officials at the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska. It was centered 30 miles southwest of Seattle.

The quake was felt as far away as Salt Lake City.

In downtown Portland, office buildings swayed for 20 to 30 seconds, and local television stations were deluged by calls from viewers reporting rolling motion across the area.


Also, for some brief first-hand accounts, see the thread at the TB2000 forum:


-- Andre Weltman (aweltman@state.pa.us), February 28, 2001


Headline: Rolling quake hits Pacific Northwest, scattered damage

Source: SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, Wednesday, February 28, 2001

URL: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/frame/direct.asp?SITE=seattlep- i.nwsource.com/local/quak28ww.shtml

A rolling 7.0 earthquake hit a large area of the Pacific Northwest shortly before 11 Wednesday morning, damaging buildings, causing scattered power outages and rattling nerves over a wide area.

At least one injury was reported when a construction worker on scaffolding at a building near downtown Seattle fell. He was transported to a hospital.

Some downtown buildings were evacuated, including City Hall, and officials ordered the County Courthouse closed. There also were reports of light fixtures falling in some offices, plants and furniture tipping over in homes and bricks crumbling on older buildings.

Seattle City Light reported 17,000 customers without power and said nine feeder lines were out in south Seattle.

Many people in the Seattle area reported feeling a rolling, rocking motion. Farther south in the Olympia area, some people said they felt strong jolts.

The Washington State Ferries briefly closed all docks to inspect for damage and decided to close the Coleman dock, the busiest, because of buckling in the pavement.

The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer said the quake, at 10:55 a.m., was centered 30 miles southwest of Seattle. The center said there was no danger of a tsunami, a seismic ocean wave.

The quake also shook the Portland area and was felt as far away as Salt Lake City.

Dan Nelson was getting coffee at the Starbucks at Denny and Aurora avenues when the shaking started.

"At first it felt like a truck was going by. But then it goes on a while, and you say, ‘Hey, that’s an earthquake,’" he said.

Don Lowe, manager of the Stadium Market at Denny and Aurora, quickly busied himself picking up quarts of oil, pre-packaged snacks and other merchandise that fell off the shelves.

Lowe said he was in Seattle for another strong quake in the mid-1960s.

"That one was a lot more terrifying," he said. This time, "It seemed to last a long time, for an earthquake." "It’s a little strong for an earthquake, but we have seen stronger ones" in Japan, he said.

-- Andre Weltman (aweltman@state.pa.us), February 28, 2001.

There is a big difference between 6.2 and 7.0 earthquake. I wonder which one it actually was?

-- Guy Daley (guydaley@altavista.com), February 28, 2001.

This one is now listed as 7 at

http://www.iris.washington.edu/cgi-bin/seismon_events.pl? date=98/11/27&lat=40.60N&lon=125.19W

Seismology isn't my field of expertise, but I can easily imagine several reasons for differing numbers being quoted...including especially a rush to answer reporter's questions before adequate analysis is done (such pressures affect any technical endeavor when the media dogs are howling; been there, done that, got the lousy tee- shirt!). See also the explanation of the various magnitude scales: is it possible some of the magnitude numbers are being given in different scales?

-- Andre Weltman (aweltman@state.pa.us), February 28, 2001.

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Also mag 7 at URL: http://edis.oes.ca.gov/bulletins/983390468.txt


News-usgs-EQ_MAG_7.0_WAS 02/28 167

EQ MAG 7.0


World Data Center for Seismology, Denver Reply to: sedas@neis.cr.usgs.gov or neic@usgs.gov

The following is a release by the United States Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center:

A major earthquake occurred about 10 miles (20 km) northeast of Olympia, Washington at 11:54 AM MST today, Feb 28, 2001 (10:54 AM PST in Washington). A PRELIMINARY MAGNITUDE OF 7.0 WAS COMPUTED FOR THIS EARTHQUAKE. The magnitude and location may be revised when additional data and further analysis results are available. Some damage has been reported in Seattle. This earthquake is located in the same general area as a magnitude 7.1 earthquake on April 13, 1949. That earthquake killed 8 people and caused damage and landslides in the Olympia- Tacoma area. The location for this earthquake was furnished by the Geophysics Program, University of Washington, Seattle.

_EDIS-02-28-01 1201 PST_

-- Andre Weltman (aweltman@state.pa.us), February 28, 2001.

It was an interesting quake. I have experienced earthquakes in Japan but not like this. It was like a wave with the first crest of it greater than the second crest. The total duration in time was about 30 seconds. I am about 140 miles north of the epicenter.

-- Phil Maley (maley@cnw.com), February 28, 2001.

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