Puget Sound is an Earthquake Hot Zone, New Study Shows

December 19, 2019

Puget Sound has a 75% or greater chance of being struck by a damaging earthquake in the next 100 years, according to a new earthquake danger assessment by the U. S. Geological Survey.

The Daily News reports for a region hit by at least three fatal, brick-busting earthquakes in the last 70 years, that might come as little surprise.

What the update released in late November does show is that Puget Sound is on par with California in the earthquake danger zone. Only western Nevada and a small area where Idaho, Montana and Wyoming meet share the red zone, the map’s highest level.

The rest of western Washington has a 36-74 percent chance of being hit by a damaging quake in the next 100 years. The entire west coast is a hot zone for earthquakes. So, too, is a patch of the Midwest where Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri and Kentucky meet.

The USGS uses the latest research from academics, government and industry to produce the National Seismic Hazard Model. The model doesn’t use “prediction” in its language but instead “considers” where, when and how strong an earthquake will be.

“As new earthquakes occur, the National Seismic Hazard Model Project Team considers how to incorporate those scientific observations into improved hazard models across the country,” the USGS said.

The update includes improved ground-shaking estimates for Puget Sound sites.

The model incorporates U.S. building codes to provide detailed shaking estimates for a wide range of building and soil types.

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