Science Center Objects

The U.S. Pacific Northwest is an active seismic zone, as evidenced by the 2001 Nisqually earthquake near Olympia (WA) and several other earthquakes in the 1990's. The Hazards Vulnerability Team worked with emergency managers and USGS earthquake researchers to better understand how communities are vulnerable to earthquake hazards.

How many people live and work in earthquake-hazard zones?

Percentage of employees, by sector, in MMI class VII to IX earthquake hazard zones related to the Tacoma earthquake scenario.

Percentage of employees, by sector, in MMI class VII to IX earthquake hazard zones related to the Tacoma earthquake scenario. N in the legend refers to the total number of employees within the community.

(Public domain.)

We used geospatial tools to estimate the number and type of people and businesses in hazard zones associated with 20 earthquake scenarios in Washington. The analysis compares earthquake scenarios in terms of population exposure and demonstrates how vulnerability varies among communities. The methods described in the study are meant to help emergency managers decide how to choose earthquake scenarios that best support their risk-reduction planning efforts.