The Nisqually earthquake, which happened on Feb. 28, 2001 , did significant damage to many buildings in Seattle, and DPD was busy assisting hundreds in earthquake recovery and repair. Since then, the City has increased its emergency preparedness efforts.
How is DPD Involved?
DPD assists in the City's preparedness efforts for possible earthquakes by providing Seattle residents with the information they need to retrofit their homes and businesses; by inspecting residences and businesses to make sure these structures meet City codes and regulations upon approval of a DPD permit; and by providing rapid evaluations and expedited emergency repair permits for structures damaged by an earthquake.
Regional Earthquake Information
- View the latest U.S.Geological Survey seismic information on Washington state.
- View the University of Washington's seismic information for the Pacific Northwest.
Tsunamis and Seiches
Tsunamis are large waves usually caused by earthquakes. Most tsunamis damage open coastlines, rather than enclosed bodies of water like Puget Sound, but Seattle could still receive one. While Seattle’s tsunami risk has not been fully studied, one study concluded that the Lower Puget Sound would experience only small fluctuations in sea level from a tsunami generated off the Washington coast. The effects of a tsunami caused by an earthquake closer to the city are not as well known.
Seiches are oscillations in enclosed bodies of water caused by seismic waves. They can occur very far from the source of an earthquake. A seiche occurred in Lake Union and Lake Washington in 1964 following the large Alaskan earthquake. The long, large waves beat boats against docks, damaging many of them.
- For additional information on tsunamis and seiches, go to Seattle's Office of Emergency Management website.
- Update on Earthquake-Damaged Buildings - March 30, 2001
- DPD One-Year Anniversary Update - Feb. 27, 2002
- Map of Buildings Tagged by Inspectors - February 14, 2002
- Parapets - Earthquake Damage to Unreinforced Buildings of Particular Concern - Original story September 19, 2001, Updated March 17, 2003
- US Geological Survey - photos of building damage during 2001 Nisqually Earthquake
- King County's website on the 2001 Nisqually earthquake