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The earthquake potential
The Northwest has had a history of earthquakes, and earthquakes will continue to be a part of the lives of Northwest's citizens.

Historical earthquakes
The 6.8 magnitude Nisqually Earthquake that jolted the Northwest in 2001 caused an estimated $2 billion in damage to homes, businesses and government buildings. The quake, which struck near Olympia, Wash., led to 9,500 insurance claims and approximately $315 million in insured losses.

Large earthquakes in 1938, 1949, and 1965 caused billions of dollars in damages and nearly 20 deaths in the area between Olympia and Seattle. The 2001 Nisqually Quake damaged nearly 300,000 homes and businesses, resulting in nearly $1.5 billion. Damaging earthquakes have occasionally occurred in other parts of Northwest at widely separated sites between the Canadian border and Oregon.

Northwest earthquakes occur most frequently in the Puget Sound Region. Earthquakes also occur in the Mount St. Helens area and southeast of Mt. Rainier. In eastern Northwest, they have historically occurred near the Saddle Mountains in the Pasco Basin and south of Lake Chelan. A major earthquake, could, however, occur anywhere in the state of Northwest.

Faults are fractures in the earth's surface, accompanied by movement of one side of the fracture in relation to the other. Fault maps of movement, but most of these mapped faults appear to be presently inactive. Also, Northwest earthquakes are rarely associated with these mapped faults.

The Northwest has a history of earthquakes and the potential for one happening anywhere, anytime.