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USGS Reports Seattle Area Earthquake
Released: 2/28/2001

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Butch Kinerney 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4732

Carolyn Bell
Phone: 703-648-4463



A strong earthquake, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.8, struck near Olympia, Washington, south of Seattle, at 10:55 a.m. PST on February 28, 2001, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The earthquake was centered at 47 degrees, 10 minutes, North; 122 degrees, 44 minutes, West. The epicenter is about 11 miles northeast of Olympia – between Olympia and Tacoma. The earthquake was about 49 kilometers deep.

The quake was felt across the Pacific northwest and there was moderate damage in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. Scores of injuries were reported and news reports said one person died from a heart attack which occured after the earthquake.

This is the second-worst earthquake in recent Washington history, according to USGS seismologists. An earthquake of magnitude 6.5 occurred in 1965 (3 people killed) and another of magnitude about 7.0 occurred in 1949 (8 people killed). The epicenter of today’s earthquake is near that of the 1949 earthquake.

The USGS reported that the area in which today’s earthquake struck is seismically quite active. Several aftershocks have been reported.


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