earthquake

Ashley Gross / KPLU

To live in the Northwest is, to some extent, to roll the dice. If you lived through the 1965 Seattle earthquake, or the Nisqually in 2001, or if you just read the New Yorker article about the “really big one” destined to hit our region, you know this well: There are forces under our feet that could just shrug our cities off into the abyss.

The push and pull of continental plates is so huge compared with a puny little human. And yet, for a man named Kelcy Allen, the act of a child shielded him from the seismic forces. He’s spent decades feeling grateful to the boy who died saving his life.

AP Images

A recent story in the New Yorker, which draws from the latest geological science,  says that within 50 years there's a good chance a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami will destroy a sizable portion of the Pacific Northwest and potentially kill 13,000 people in the process.

And according to, "The Really Big One," the odds of this Cascadia quake within five decades are one in three for a large quake and one in ten for a more massive one. 

So KPLU asked people on the streets of Seattle if they’re concerned about an earthquake and what, if anything, they’ve done to prepare for it. Click on the audio link (above) to hear their comments.

AP Images

One member of a Seattle-based climbing group's Everest team died Saturday as a result of an avalanche that hit the mountain following the Nepal earthquake. But several other local climbing organizations reported that their teams were safe. 

Among those is Alpine Ascents, the climbing and expedition company that has called Seattle its home for 27 years. The company had six clients and three guides on Mount Everest  at the time of the 7.8 magnitude quake.  

In December of 1872, an earthquake shook the Pacific Northwest so hard that a Seattle resident described watching near-tidal waves roil Lake Union.

And it wasn’t just Seattle; the quake shook from Eugene, Oregon to Canada. It triggered a landslide near Wenatchee that briefly dammed the Columbia River.

For years, geologists couldn't pin down the quake's source. But now they think they've found it: A previously unknown fault near Entiat on the east side of the Cascades.

"So we had this big earthquake but no one could put their finger on where's the fault that's responsible," said Brian Sherrod, a paleoseismologist with the US Geological Survey.

A paleoseismologist studies ancient earthquakes. Sherrod said the source of the massive quake has baffled scientists for decades. Guesses placed the epicenter everywhere from Sedro-Woolley to Lake Chelan to British Columbia.

A magnitude-4.3 earthquake rumbled under Washington state's Cascade Range, but no injuries or damage have been reported.

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network says the quake struck at 1:04 a.m. Wednesday and was centered about 20 miles north of Ellensburg and 10 miles northeast of Cle Elum in central Washington.

USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center says a magnitude 6.7 quake has been recorded in the Pacific Ocean off the northwest corner of British Columbia's Vancouver Island.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska, says there is no danger of a tsunami from the Wednesday night quake.

Scientists who have been studying a swarm of small earthquakes that shook Spokane in 2001 say they may have evidence of a new fault in the area. 

On Friday, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey announced an airborne survey of the Spokane area revealed clues that look to be connected to a so-called swarm of small earthquakes that struck in 2001.

The swarm was actually several small quakes, the largest of which registered a 4.0-magnitude quake on Nov. 11 of that year.

Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

State officials are hoping people across Washington will drop to the floor and take cover on Thursday morning. It’s part of a massive earthquake drill that organizers say has attracted more than 800,000 people so far.

Go to the website for the Great Washington ShakeOut, and you’re met with video showing a major earthquake violently shaking the ground. The video, and the website it's on, are a project of the Washington state Department of Emergency Management.

Pacific Northwest Seismic Network

Did you feel it?

A 3.6-magnitude quake hit Key Center, Wash., located across Henderson Bay from Gig Harbor, at 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. 

Rob Griffith / AP

The Northwest hasn’t had a killer earthquake since 1965 – and it’s been three centuries since anything massive shook this region. That’s how New Zealanders felt, until two years ago, when a quake knocked their third largest city to its knees. 

Lessons from Christchurch, NZ, and other Pacific Rim cities, are resonating at a meeting of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, in Seattle this week.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck off the west coast of Canada but no damages have been reported and no tsunami warning has been issued.

HONOLULU – A geologist tracking a tsunami in Hawaii says the first waves hitting shore are smaller than expected.

Gerard Fryer of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said Saturday night the largest wave was measured at 5 feet in Maui in the first 45 minutes.

Warning changes

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had issued a tsunami warning for all Hawaiian islands Saturday night, hours after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake rocked an island off Canada's west coast. Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie proclaimed an emergency, mobilizing extra safety measures.

YORBA LINDA, Calif. — Another moderate earthquake has shaken a wide area of Southern California.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 9:33 a.m. Wednesday quake was centered two miles northeast of the Orange County city of Yorba Linda.

The quake was initially measured at magnitude-4.5 but seismologists have since lowered the magnitude to 4.1.

A magnitude 4.4 quake centered in the same area struck late Tuesday night. No damage was reported.

Yorba Linda is about 35 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Brian Hoffman / Flickr

"This is not a drill! Get out of here!"

UNALASKA, Alaska – Residents of southern Alaska awoke this morning to a major earthquake. It triggered a tsunami warning near the Aleutian Islands. But no damage has been reported and there was no tsunami.

AP

Earthquake scientists are hoping to build an early-warning system for Washington, Oregon and California.  It would give typically about five to 30 seconds of notice that a big quake was starting. The scientists have been meeting this week to craft a proposal. 

There’s no way to predict earthquakes. But once a big one starts, it sends out different kinds of shock waves that move at different speeds. One type is fast-moving, but barely perceptible. These are called P-waves. They arrive before the slow traveling but damaging shock waves (called S-waves).  

So, if you have precise sensors, they can detect the fast-moving waves and send out alarms. 

A magnitude 4.3 quake at 10:35 a.m. Monday at Mount St. Helens was felt in southwest Washington and the Portland area.

Google Maps

A 4.2 earthquake gave a shake to Lewis and Thurston counties just before 8 am this morning. The US Geological Survey reports the small temblor was centered between the town of Morton and Mossyrock.  No injuries or damages have been reported.

CBC News

Northwest-based relief agencies World Vision, World Concern and MercyCorps are rapidly expanding relief efforts in Haiti as a cholera outbreak there spreads. Dozens have been killed, and thousands are infected.