A tidal wave of massive proportions could devastate Seattle if an earthquake hits along the Seattle Fault, according to a new report.
The report from the Washington Department of Natural Resources stated that “tsunami waves would reach the shoreline in fewer than three minutes.”
The Seattle Fault goes east-west through downtown Seattle and Puget Sound.
The study noted that the last earthquake on the fault took place about 1,100 years ago.
NEW: A simulation of the impact of a ~7.5-magnitude earthquake on the Seattle Fault.
Tsunami waves could be as high as 42 feet at the Seattle Great Wheel and will reach inland as far as Lumen Field and T-Mobile Park. pic.twitter.com/y44PWHXQtv
— Washington State Dept. of Natural Resources (@waDNR) July 7, 2022
Over the past 3,500 years, five additional earthquakes estimated to have a magnitude of 6.5 took place along the Seattle Fault.
For the sake of worst-case scenario planning, the study looked at the impact of a 7.5-magnitude earthquake.
Maximilian Dixon, the hazards and outreach program supervisor for the Washington Emergency Management Division, said the department does not want to provoke panic, but urges individuals to be prepared.
“Although the chances of this happening in our lifetime is low, it’s important for families to get prepared now,” he said.
“The ground shaking will be your warning that a tsunami may be on the way. Make sure you know where the closest high ground is and the quickest route to get there. Get signed up for tsunami and local alerts,” he said.
The study said that tsunami waves would hit the eastern side of Bainbridge Island, Elliott Bay and Alki Point, and could last for more than three hours.
The Port of Tacoma would face six feet of inundation with waves going as far as three miles inland, according to the study.
“Most often, when we think of tsunamis, we think of our outer coast and communities along the Pacific Ocean. But there’s a long history of earthquakes on faults in the Puget Sound,” Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said.
“While the history of earthquakes and tsunamis along the Seattle Fault is less frequent than the Cascadia subduction zone, the impacts could be massive. That’s why it’s critical these communities have the information they need to prepare and respond.”
A 2001 earthquake caused $36 million worth of damage in Seattle from the impact on buildings, roads and other infrastructure, according to the city’s website.
The city noted that damage from an earthquake would also include landslides throughout the Seattle region. Further, the city estimated there are 1,100 unreinforced buildings in Seattle that would be prone to extensive damage in an earthquake.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.