The small 4.6 earthquake Friday morning (July 12) in Snohomish County is a gentle reminder that we live in earthquake country – Since June 14th, we had 9 earthquakes in Sudden Valley, Friday Harbor, Sedro-Woolley, Big Lake, Warm Beach, and Langford (Canada). Those have been too small to feel, but some day in our lifetime we may have a larger earthquake, it is a geologic certainty. We just do not know when or how big.The Washington State Department of Natural Resources have seismic scenarios in their Geologic Portal
Whatcom County is earthquake country. And while we always hear about the “Big One – the 9.0 Cascadia Event” all the modeling shows that Whatcom County may not be as affected as other parts of our state, and in fact, in the National Guard plan for a Cascadia event, Whatcom County may well be a resupply point for communities south.
Yet, local faults such as found near Kendall or Birch Bay could generate an earthquake similar in size to the 2001 Nisqually event, only located here, making the effects much more pronounced. For example, the Boulder Creek Fault near Maple Falls and Kendall could be as large as 6.8, yet has the potential to do much more damage than a Cascadia event. The Devil’s Mountain fault just south of us in Skagit County, or the South Whidbey fault, all could cause significant damage here. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources Geological Portal (available by clicking here), shows what kind of shaking we can expect from some of our local faults.
Earthquakes can strike at any time, and everyone needs to “Be Prepared”, at home, at school, in the workplace, while shopping, in houses of worship, or just taking a walk in the park. Mother Nature does not pay any attention to the calendar, the weather or the readiness of our communities. Being prepared is a small investment of time, money and energy that will help protect you, your family and our community.
They have occurred. They will occur again. We don’t know when, we don’t know where, and we don’t know how big. However, we do know that we can do things to both mitigate and prepare for what will inevitably happen. We can prepare our homes by Surveying, Supplying and Reaching Out. In our schools we can Research, Evaluate and Participate. In the workplace we can Plan, Equip and Train.
Over 100 years ago, Lord Robert Baden-Powell told us to “Be Prepared”. It is now time for us to answer with:
“We Are Prepared”
General Earthquake Preparedness Information
- American Red Cross – Earthquake Safety
- Ready.Gov – Earthquakes
- FEMA – Earthquake
- United States Geological Survey – Prepare
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration – Earthquake Preparedness and Response
- Southern California Earthquake Center – Earthquake Preparedness for Educational Facilities
- The Great Washington Shakeout – Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills
- National Geographic – Earthquake Safety Tips
- Insurance Institute For Business & Home Safety – Earthquake
- Save the Children – 10 Tips For Earthquake Safety
- Government of Jamaica – Earthquakes (Good tips for Children, Disabled & Elderly)
- New Zealand Civil Defence – Earthquake!
- New Zealand Civil Defence – “Turtle Safe” – Great pre-school resource
Scholarly Articles on Earthquakes
- Mikiko Tanifuji, “The Impact of Japan’s March 11th Earthquake and Tsunami on Libraries and the Conduct of Research and Publications in Japan”
- Perspectives on Haiti Two Years after the Earthquake, Clive Brown, Jonathan Ripp, James Kazura
- United State Geological Survey – Publications – Earth Science Journals
- Geological Society of America – The 1906 earthquake and a century of progress in understanding earthquakes and their hazards
- LiveScience: New Faults, and Earthquake Risks, Found in Washington
- Washington State Department of Natural Resources: Tsunami Hazard Map of the Bellingham Area, Washington: Modeled Tsunami Inundation from a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake
- Washington State Department of Natural Resources: Modeling a Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake on the Boulder Creek Fault Zone in Whatcom County.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: Community clusters of tsunami vulnerability in the US Pacific Northwest
- Journal of Geophysical Research: Crustal earthquake triggering by pre-historic great earthquakes on subduction zone thrusts