Damage Report from Seattle

by Mark R. Pierepiekarz, P.E., (M.ASCE), Assoc. and Group Mgr.; EQE Int., Inc., Oakland, CA,
Donald B. Ballantyne, P.E., (M.ASCE), Vice Pres.; EQE Int., Inc., Oakland, CA,
Ronald O. Hamburger, P.E., (M.ASCE), Chf. Struct. Engr.; EQE Int., Inc., Oakland, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 6, Pg. 78-83

Document Type: Feature article


The epicenter of the magnitude 6.8 earthquake that struck the Puget Sound region of Washington on February 28, 2001, was located 11 mi (18 km) northeast of Olympia and about 36 mi (58 km) southwest of Seattle. Although the earthquake caused widespread damage, the damage was moderate because of the great depth of the fault rupture. The earthquake caused liquefaction as far west and south as Shelton and Tumwater, and as far north as Green Lake, in Seattle, and Lake Sammamish, in Issaquah. In downtown Olympia, structural damage was limited to older unreinforced masonry structures and included fallen parapets and cracked or facades, but no collapses. A wide variety of damage was observed in the older industrial and commercial structures in the southern tidal flats of Seattle, and the Boeing 737 assembly plant in Renton sustained nonstructural damage and was out of service for several days. Overall, however, the area's lifeline systems�including bridges, water and wastewater systems, electric power plants, and telecommunications facilities�performed very well.

Subject Headings: Earthquakes | Power plants | Lakes | Industrial facilities | Hydro power | Electrical systems | Electric power | Seattle | Washington | United States

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