Newly published: Rock aggregate resource inventory map of Pierce County, Washington

We are pleased to announce the release of a new publication!

Rock aggregate resource inventory map of Pierce County, Washington
by
Daniel W. Eungard and Jessica L. Czajkowski

Ever wonder where the best and worst rock aggregate is within Pierce County? This question keeps us up at night and here is the answer!

Ever wonder where the best and worst rock aggregate is within Pierce County? This question keeps us up at night and here is the answer!

Summary: Rock aggregate is one of the fundamental building blocks of roads, bridges, and buildings that use concrete. Luckily for us in Washington, the Pleistocene glaciers that once covered all of the Puget Lowland deposited vast amounts of these valuable resources as they advanced and retreated. Ever-expanding population centers, however, threaten the availability of these aggregate resources. 

This publication continues DGER’s work to map and characterize the sand, gravel, and bedrock resources of Washington. This effort aids county and regional planners as they consider which areas should be reserved for future aggregate resource development.

The Washington Geological Survey Celebrates its 125th Birthday

125th_anniversary_logo On February 25th, the Washington Geological Survey will be 125 years old. In that time we’ve accomplished a lot, and there’s still so much more fascinating geology to uncover. Below is an infographic depicting the history of the Washington Geological Survey. Click on the image or here to open the full-sized poster as a PDF.

It’s interesting to see how the focus of the Survey has steadily shifted from mining and mineral assessments in the early days to geologic mapping and hazard assessments over the last 40 or so years.

It’s interesting to see how the focus of the Survey has steadily shifted from mining and mineral assessments in the early days to geologic mapping and hazard assessments over the last 40 or so years.

You can find more information about the early days of the Survey in Washington Geologic Newsletters v. 19, no. 1,  v. 18, no. 2, and v. 19, no. 2.

January 26, 1700 Cascadia earthquake anniversary

Status

We are at the mercy of the Juan de Fuca plate, a major player in our geologic future.

We are at the mercy of the Juan de Fuca plate, a major player in our geologic past, present, and future.

I am so glad I wasn’t alive 315 years ago today. Not only were there no espresso or Netflix, two items I deem necessary for survival, that day in particular was probably spectacular in terms of its awfulness. At around 9:00 pm, a 1,000 km rupture along the Cascadia subduction zone offshore of Washington, Oregon, and California produced a Magnitude 9 megathrust earthquake. The quake generated a tsunami that reached the coast of Japan about 4,700 miles away. Scientists like Brian Atwater with the U.S. Geological Survey have spent much of their careers pulling tidbits of information out of stumps that were submerged during that event.

American Museum of Natural History—Reading the Geologic Record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz9ioAIaJVA&feature=youtu.be

 

It’s completely safe to assume that this will happen again in our lifetimes. Are we prepared for this? I’m not, although I do have earthquake insurance. While the thought of simultaneous espresso and Netflix withdrawals is daunting, even more so are the likelihood of temporary food shortages, no electricity, fractured transportation networks, uncertain access to clean water, injuries, fatalities, civil unrest, and poor sanitation conditions due to broken pipes.

After work today, I’m going to come up with a disaster plan for my family (including my pets) and assemble our three-day supply of food and water, coffee, flashlights, batteries, blankets, extra clothing, analog entertainment, and first-aid supplies. I’m going to start here: http://mil.wa.gov/preparedness.

It can’t hurt to prepare, and through doing this, I would also conveniently be ready for a global coffee shortage, a zombie uprising, or the sudden inability to stream multiple seasons of Doctor Who.

Ocosta tsunami school hopes to be example for coastal communities

Originally posted on Ear to the Ground:

Ocosta students use golden clam guns to break ground on a new school that will double as a tsunami evacuation structure at Westport. Ocosta students use golden clam guns to break ground on a new school that will double as a tsunami evacuation structure at Westport.

Students armed with golden clam guns broke ground on the nation’s first vertical evacuation structure at Westport Thursday, kicking off construction of a project emergency officials hope will be imitated along the Cascadia subduction zone.

The Ocosta School District is building a new elementary school in Westport that includes the tsunami refuge atop the gymnasium.

Westport lies just off the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-mile-long fault that runs from northern California to Vancouver Island, leaving it vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis.

When built, the tsunami refuge will be capable of holding more than 1,000 people atop the 30-foot building designed to withstand both a megathrust Cascadia earthquake and the pounding of tsunami waves.

“If a tsunami were to strike, there wouldn’t be much time to get to higher…

View original 235 more words

Tenth Anniversary of the Magnitude 9.2 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami

The day after Christmas will mark the tenth anniversary of the Magnitude 9.2 Indian Ocean earthquake that produced the single-most devastating tsunami in recorded history, killing more than 230,000 people throughout the countries along the Indian Ocean and leaving more than 1.7 million people homeless. The rupture of this megathrust earthquake initiated off the west coast of Sumatra along the Sunda trench subduction zone.

This devastation served as a strong reminder that Washington State is also vulnerable to this type of event. Tsunami deposits, drowned shorelines, and buried trees from the 1700 A.D. Magnitude 8.8–9.2 megathrust earthquake along the Cascadia subduction zone have been located in numerous places along the Washington, Oregon, California, and Vancouver Island coast. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake resulted in the Tsunami Warning and Education Act of 2006, wherein NOAA formalized and expanded the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, a partnership with Pacific states to protect the west coast from tsunamis.

To better prepare coastal communities for future earthquake-generated tsunamis, hazards geologists with the Division, the National Center for Tsunami Research at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, and scientists with the University of Washington model tsunami inundation in population centers both along the Washington coast and within the Puget Sound. To do this complex math, they use software (Clawpack), developed by geeks at the Applied Mathematics Department of UW or the MOST model, developed by NOAA. The Division recently published tsunami inundation modeling for the Everett area, and is currently focusing efforts on the San Juan Islands.

Inundation modeling tells us where we are most vulnerable and helps guide innovative evacuation strategies for at-risk communities. In Westport, where evacuation is especially difficult, demolition has already begun on the Ocosta Elementary School (see photo below), and a vertical tsunami evacuation structure will soon be built in its place. The 28-ft-tall evacuation structure sits 55 ft above sea level, can hold over 1,000 people, and was designed to withstand a Magnitude 9 near-field earthquake. It was designed by Degenkolb Engineers and TCF Architecture, through the efforts of Project Safe Haven, which was launched by the Washington State Emergency Management Division in 2011.

Ocosta School elementary kids gleefully watching their school being demolished.

Ocosta School elementary kids gleefully watching their school being demolished.

Thanks to continuing efforts, a tsunami berm is also proposed adjacent to the Long Beach Elementary School. The landscaped berm would replace an existing bleacher there, and would hold about 800 people atop it during an emergency, while serving as an attractive amenity every day.

The Division documents tsunami-related news in our bi-monthly newsletter, TsuInfo.

Landslides and Landforms now on the Washington Geologic Information Portal

Landslides and landforms data has been placed onto the Washington Geologic Information Portal. We’ve made a few changes to its appearance by dividing the data into separate layers, including 1:24,000- and 1:100,000-scale landslides from geologic mapping, miscellaneous landslides, landslides mapped using watershed analysis protocols, reconnaissance-level landslides, and Salish Sea landforms. We’ve also added the extents of landslide mapping for several layers, including the 1:24,000-scale landslides from geological maps and watershed analysis landslides.

While we’ve made a lot of improvements, this dataset will always be a work in progress. Landslides have not been mapped statewide using the same methods everywhere. This means that if the data doesn’t show a landslide in a given area, it doesn’t mean it’s not there—it is possible that it just hasn’t been mapped.

The data can be viewed on our Portal, or can be downloaded directly in GIS geodatabase format from our GIS data page.

Suggested citation for the GIS data: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources, 2014, Washington State landslides and landforms–GIS data, December, 2014: Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Digital Data Series DS-12, version 2.0. [http://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/ger_portal_landslides_landforms.zip]

The December TsuInfo Alert Newsletter is now available

tsuinfo_banner

TSUINFO ALERT IS A BI-MONTHLY newsletter that links scientists, emergency responders, and community planners to the latest tsunami research. This newsletter is published by the Washington Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Earth Resources on behalf of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program, a state/federal partnership funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is made possible by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency via the Washington Military Department, Division of Emergency Management.

December, 2014 (v. 16, no. 6) [PDF; 1 MB]