Washington State Geologic Information Portal

Interactive Map Themes

Washington Interactive Geologic Map

This map theme provides the ability to view geologic mapping at three scales, geologic hazards mapping, and their relationship to each other. It allows the user be able to choose which geoscience layers to overlay (for example, to compare hazard zones with the underlying geology). It includes a full complement of base map information to assist in locating areas of interest.

Natural Hazards

This theme is a collection of layers pertaining to natural hazards present in Washington State. These hazards include earthquake-related hazards, landslides, tsunamis, and lahars (volcanic mud flows). We present them here with surface geology maps at 1:100,000, 1:250:000, and 1:500,000 scales so the user can relate the hazards to the underlying geology.

The seismogenic features layers include measurements and modeled interpretations for Quaternary earthquake events, and associated faults and folds. In some cases, these data include multiple interpretations of the same seismic features and events.

The landslide layers represent mapping from several sources, including published 1:100,000 and 1:24,000-scale geologic mapping as well as digital landslide databases compiled and maintained by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and various other organizations. The polygons represent landslides, which can include landslide deposits and scarp areas.

The ground response liquefaction layer is meant only as a general guide to delineate areas prone to liquefaction. Liquefaction occurs when water-saturated sandy soil loses strength during severe shaking and behaves like quicksand. Movement of liquefied soils can cause sand blows, rupture pipelines and waterlines, move bridge abutments and road and railway alignments, and pull apart the foundations and walls of buildings. This information is useful when deciding where and how to build. The seismic site class and design category layers provide further information on building code categories and susceptibility to damage from earthquake events based on the classification of the underlying ground.

The user can toggle between the tsunami evacuation maps and the tsunami inundation layers, but cannot view both simultaneously. The reason for this is that the tsunami evacuation maps and brochures were created for specific regions that do not include surrounding areas found in the tsunami inundation map layer. Therefore, we do not wish to imply that any inundation-prone area that does not appear in the evacuation map layer is safe—a misconception that may occur if these layers are viewed together.

Lahars are volcanic mudflows or debris flows emanating from a volcano, typically flowing along river valleys. Lahars are of similar consistency to concrete, and can be extremely destructive. This lahar layer shows land parcels at risk of being affected by lahars, providing information on the value of the land, structures, and contents of each parcel. This layer also shows areas that could be affected by lava flows and pyroclastic flows, as well as areas at risk for post-eruption erosion, sedimentation, and flooding.


Tsunami Evacuation Map

This theme consists of detailed base information, overlain by mapped tsunami hazard zones, predetermined evacuation routes, and assembly areas. This mapping has information only for areas at risk of tsunami inundation—namely, areas with a salt-water shoreline (coast and Puget Sound). If you live in a tsunami hazard area, you can find evacuation routes and assembly areas near your home or work address by using the address locator tool.

Geothermal Resources of Washington

This map theme is a guide to potential geothermal resources of Washington. It displays locations where geothermal data have been collected, as well as areas of potential high- and low-temperature geothermal resource. These data can be viewed in conjunction with surface geology, geologic hazard mapping, and detailed base map information to help identify potential targets for geothermal energy exploration.

Subsurface Geology Information System

This theme presents a database of subsurface geologic information in Washington State. It began with the work of Kathy Troost and Aaron Wisher of the Pacific Northwest Center for Geologic Mapping Studies (GeoMapNW) at the University of Washington. The data in the GeoMapNW database are mainly in the greater Seattle area and were funded by grants from the U.S. Geological Survey and from agreements with the following jurisdictions: the Cities of Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond, and Seattle; many departments in King County; Washington State Department of Transportation; and the Division of Geology and Earth Resources in the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Many consulting firms voluntarily contributed large volumes of subsurface data including Associated Earth Sciences Inc., Creative Engineering Options, GeoEngineers, and Yonemitsu Geological Services.

The database has recently been expanded to include statewide coverage using data from a wide variety of sources. These include the Washington State Department of Transportation, Department of Health, Department of Ecology, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Basin Groundwater Management Area, and many County Public Utility Districts.

Most of the information is derived from geotechnical boring logs, water well logs, and direct measurements. The map consists of points indicating where subsurface information is available; clicking on one of the points with the purple 'Identify' tool provides attribute information about the subsurface boring, including a link to a PDF of the associated geotechnical report or well log.

Earth Resource Permit Locations

This theme allows the user to view the locations and descriptions of regulatory permit sites – specifically, active surface mines and oil and gas exploration wells. Both of these data sets consist of point data, and can be viewed in relation to surface geology and base map information.

Washington State Coal Mine Map Collection

This theme provides access, through a geographic index map, to scanned maps from the Washington State Coal Mine Map Collection. Rather than displaying the actual outlines of available maps (since the maps generally cannot be located accurately enough to provide a reliable geographic footprint), it displays the Public Land Survey sections that contain coal mines with maps in the collection. A user clicking on one of the sections will receive a list of mines in that area, and clicking on a mine name results in a list of maps associated with that mine. Each item in the map list is linked to a PDF file containing a scan of the map itself.

Seismic Scenarios Catalog

The Washington State Earthquake Hazards Scenario Catalog contains loss estimates for a suite of earthquake scenarios. These scenarios were selected to represent reasonable estimates of the most serious earthquake hazards everywhere in Washington as a basis for planning. In most cases, these scenarios are realistic and have undergone rigorous peer review. Some of these scenarios, however, are hypothetical or speculative, and the recurrence interval, or average time between earthquakes, varies from a few tens of years to a few tens of thousands of years; however, all scenarios are consistent with data included the USGS National Seismic Hazard Map. The loss estimates were produced by Hazus-MH, which is a regional loss estimation tool produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Results are most accurate when aggregated on a county or regional scale. Modeled results depend on accurate inventories. The more complete the inventories, the more accurate the results. Because of their complexity, it is more difficult to estimate losses to lifelines (utility and transportation) than buildings. These data are not a substitute for site-specific investigations assessing the level of risk for an area. They cannot be used to determine the earthquake hazard at a specific locality. Such a determination requires a site-specific geotechnical investigation performed by a qualified practitioner.

No warranty, expressed or implied, is made for the data and information displayed. This information is solely intended for use in emergency planning and the individuals and agencies associated with developing this theme assume no liability for use of the information. The data were calculated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazards United States (HAZUS) loss estimation software using scenario earthquakes developed by the United States Geological Survey. The effects from these and other earthquakes may vary significantly from what is depicted.

The Washington State Earthquake Hazards Scenario Catalog is the result of a collaborative effort by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WADNR), the Washington Military Department Emergency Management Division (EMD), Huxley College of the Environment's Resilience Institute at Western Washington University (WWU), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), US Geological Survey (USGS) and URS Corporation.