Pacific Northwest

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Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, UW347

Earthquakes threaten the Pacific Northwest, which includes Washington, Oregon, and northern California. USGS earthquake studies of this region are intended to help reduce the losses the earthquakes may cause. Activities include collaboration with the University of Washington in contributing to the Advanced National Seismic System through operation of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Instrumental, written, and geological records from the region tell of earthquakes from three generalized sources. Earthquakes as large as magnitude 7 originate in the subducted Juan de Fuca plate, mainly beneath the Puget Sound region. Moderate and large earthquakes occur also on faults within the overriding North America plate, on both sides of the Cascades. Great earthquakes, as large as magnitude 9, happen on the boundary between these plates. Earthquakes from any of these sources may set off landslides, liquefaction, and tsunamis.

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