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Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center

Coastal and Marine Earthquake Studies

Western Coastal and Marine Earthquake Studies.


Cascadia Earthquakes & Tsunami Hazard Studies

Earthquake Hazards of Washington State

(Figure from online edition of This Dynamic Earth)

Washington State lies near the northern end of the Cascadia subduction zone, where an oceanic plate is forced beneath the North American continent. The boundary zone between plates in subduction zones is observed to cause some of the largest earthquakes ever recorded globally. No such earthquakes have occured in the Cascadia subduction zone during recorded history, but geological evidence suggests that such earthquakes have happened as recently as the 1700's. We thus initiated projects to map the locations of major fault boundaries in Washington State.

We apply seismic imaging techniques that use sonic sources and sensitive receivers to measure the paths that sound energy travels through the Earth. These techniques use similar technology as medical imaging.

Learn about Volcanoes and Crustal Structure.


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