January 30, 2009
Contact: Princess Jackson-Smith, 360-902-1066
DNR Gathers Documentation on Kitsap Peninsula Earthquake
Division of Geology and Earth Resources provides technical information on geological hazards
OLYMPIA – A minor earthquake occurred this morning beneath the Kitsap Peninsula near Kingston, Washington. It had a magnitude of 4.5 and was widely felt. More than 1,500 people have reported feeling the earthquake so far, from as far away as Long Beach to the west, Eugene, Oregon to the south, Quincy to the east, and Vancouver, B. C., to the north.
As the home of the Washington Geological Survey, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources is the primary source of geological hazard information and services for the state. In addition to documenting earthquakes, DNR provides technical information about the threats of landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes, and other hazards that public agencies across Washington use for safety planning.
If you felt the earthquake, please report it to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at http://www.pnsn.org/. Click on ‘Report an Earthquake’ and follow the link to today’s earthquake.
If you see earthquake damage, landslides, or unusual seepage or fountains of water, please describe it in an e-mail to the DNR Geology and Earth Resources Division at DGER_earthquake@sharepoint.dis.wa.gov. Be sure to tell us where you are. You may attach photos as well.
This earthquake occurred in the vicinity of the Seattle fault, but at a depth of 36 miles (58 km), it was below the crust of the North America tectonic plate, indicating that this earthquake was in the subducting crust of the Juan de Fuca (oceanic) plate. This kind of earthquake is known as a Benioff Zone event. The magnitude 6.8 Nisqually earthquake of February 28, 2001, was also this kind of earthquake and occurred at a similar depth. Because of its depth, there is a significant decrease of energy as it spreads out and interacts with the overlying crust, so it is less damaging than it would be if it had occurred on the Seattle fault. See figure from Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/ger_earthquake_figure.pdf.
A larger earthquake with stronger shaking can be very dangerous. Remember, if you feel the earth shake, to “Drop, Cover, and Hold.” After the shaking stops, check for hazards, such as fire, gas leaks, and broken glass. Check those around you for injuries. If you are near the coast, be aware of tsunami danger, and be prepared to go to high ground and/or inland. For more information on earthquake safety and preparedness, visit the Washington Emergency Management Division at http://emd.wa.gov/hazards/haz_earthquakes.shtml.
Caring for your natural resources . . . now and forever
DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. These lands include 125,000 acres of Natural Areas that protect rare and threatened species as well as high-quality examples of the native ecosystems and landscapes of Washington.
The department also provides wildfire protection for 12.7 million acres of private and state-owned forestlands; administers Forest Practices rules and surface mine reclamation on state and private lands; gives technical assistance for forestry and mining; and provides financial and grant assistance to local communities and individuals.
DNR is administered by Peter Goldmark, the 13th Commissioner of Public Lands since statehood in 1889, and the first from Eastern Washington.
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