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News Release February 7, 2002
GSA Release No. 02-09
Contact: Ann Cairns
Director – Communications and Marketing, 303-357-1056

Geologists Find Hidden Active Strands of the Seattle Fault Zone

The Seattle fault zone is geologically complex and is known to have caused destructive earthquakes. It lies beneath Seattle and Bellevue, but most of it is hidden beneath glacial deposits, forests, water, and urban development.

Richard Blakely and colleagues from the U.S. Geological Survey used the Earth's magnetic field, measured from a low-flying airplane, to map potentially dangerous areas of the Seattle fault zone. They report their findings in the February issue of the Geological Society of America Bulletin.

The aeromagnetic anomalies reveal three strands of the fault zone extending from Bremerton to east of Lake Washington. "We've known for many years that the Seattle fault exists and is dangerous, but now we have an idea of its location," Blakely said.

Blakely has also conducted detailed ground magnetic studies of the Seattle fault zone in the Bellevue area and plans to present those results at the Geological Society of America's Cordilleran meeting May 13-15 in Corvallis, Oregon.

— By Kara LeBeau, GSA Staff Writer

Contact Information:
Richard Blakely
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 989
Menlo Park, CA 94025
PHONE: 650-329-5316

To read the abstract of this article, go to

To obtain a complimentary copy of this or any other BULLETIN article, contact Ann Cairns [ ].
Geological Society of America


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