Seattle’s hilly neighborhoods could slide into the water during the next earthquake

October 23, 2013SEATTLEYou already know Seattle is due for a devastating earthquake, but a new study shows one more thing to worry about: Landslides. Seattle is full of slope-side real estate with gorgeous views of Lake Washington and Puget Sound. It’s also primed for possible disaster, thanks to these very same hilly areas that could hurtle into the water during the next big earthquake. Published Tuesday in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, the study found that damage from earthquake-triggered landslides will be worse and more widespread in Seattle than previously thought. The study focused on the Seattle Fault, a 30-mile fracture that runs east-west through Seattle, under CenturyLink Field and over to Issaquah. Capable of inflicting mass damage, it’s due for another rupture, but no one knows when. “A major quake along the Seattle Fault is among the worst case scenarios for the area since the fault runs just south of downtown,” said Kate Alltstadt, a University of Washington doctoral student and co-author of the study.
Then there’s Seattle’s rain and craggy topography, a recipe for landslides. Allstadt and the research team wondered: How would a magnitude 7.0 quake along the Seattle Fault affect the city’s crumbly slopes? Answer: Catastrophe. The study found that thousands of landslides would ravage Seattle’s coastal bluffs and southern neighborhoods. More than a 1,000 buildings would be in hazard zones of collapsing hills, the study found. But that when the soil was dry. A far worse threat loomed when hills were soggy. More than 8,000 buildings would be in potential danger if a major earthquake hit after a rainy spell. “A lot of people assume that all landslides occur in the same areas, but those triggered by rainfall or human behavior have a different triggering mechanism than landslides caused by earthquakes, so we need dedicated studies,” said Allstadt, who’s also a seismologist with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. The Seattle Fault last ruptured in 900 A.D., at an estimated magnitude 7.4. It wreaked geologic havoc, sending chunks of forest into Lake Washington. Seattle was not yet a city then, and the next rupture has the deadly potential to bring down thousands of homes. When will this happen? One estimate puts the quake recurrence at every 750 years. Another says every 200 to 12,000 years. One thing is known: Seattle is due; the fault last ruptured more than 1,100 years ago. –Seattle PI
This entry was posted in Avalanche, Civilizations unraveling, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earthquake Omens?, High-risk potential hazard zone, Infrastructure collapse, Landslide & geological deformation, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Strange high tides & freak waves, Tectonic plate movement, Time - Event Acceleration. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Seattle’s hilly neighborhoods could slide into the water during the next earthquake

  1. Thoughtwrite says:

    I am surprised that they haven’t collapsed already. That area is a mixture of fault lines and accretion islands, and seafloor upheavals from previous tectonic and volcanic activity.


  2. niebo says:

    Hey, Alvin, FYEO: this is notmy actual comment, itjust popped into my head:

    “Seattle was not yet a city then [in 900 A.D.]….”



  3. mtnwolf63 says:

    It wouldn’t be the first time, apparently. Native American legends tell of great waves inundating the West coast. Scientists laughed. ‘Silly old myths’ they said. Then one day a curious geologist discovers a peculiar layer of sand. Yep, the Native Americans have been proven right again!!!

    How The Earth Was Made: Tsunami
    Native American Tsunami Legends… and scientific proof they are right!!!


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