by Heidi Hiatt
Christina Reed of Discovery News has written an analysis of the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake that Pacific Northwesterners should pay attention to.
Reed is right to point out that a similar event, or worse, could happen in our area because of the soft soils our region sits on. I had that very thought when the Christchurch quake happened. The geology is similar.
This is why I don’t understand why the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle is being replaced with a tunnel. The waterfront area is a liquefaction zone, meaning that the soil could literally liquefy in a quake. I’ve never been sure why we Washingtonians build infrastructure in high risk areas.
It was ten years ago Monday that we experienced the 6.8 Nisqually quake, commonly referred to as the Ash Wednesday Earthquake. I remember how the government building I worked in began to flex as it was built to do– but it was, ironically, built on a liquefaction zone. I hid under the bomb proof front counter with two other people, hanging on as seconds seemed to stretch into minutes.