The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake Seattle Building Impact

5.77 Acres 2001 Nisqually Earthquake Property Damaged 2
14804 SE Jones Pl, Renton, WA

The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake Seattle Building Impact (see video below) – While looking for land to build our tiny homestead, I came across a piece of land listed for $59,900 located at 14804 SE Jones Pl, Renton, Washington, which included 5.77 acres. After looking at similar location properties, I think this one is severely over-priced, when you consider the old dwelling must be cleared before you can safely repurpose the land for any use.

The listing says,  “Secluded, quiet property just minutes from the Cedar River and Downtown Renton. According to King County this is an unbuildable lot and for recreational use only. Has old home that has landslide damage from the 2001 Nisqually earthquake. The property once connected to City Water, Power and Septic. Currently disconnected from all utilities.”

I had never heard of the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, so I decided to investigate and discovered it was the worst earthquake in Seattle at the time, during the prior 50 years.2001 Nisqually Earthquake Road Damage

The 2001 Nisqually earthquake occurred at 10:54:32 local time on February 28, 2001. The earthquake had a moment magnitude of 6.8. Following the quake, many buildings and structures in the area were closed temporarily for inspection. This included several bridges, all state offices in Olympia, and Boeing’s factories in the Seattle area. Various schools in the state also closed for the day.

The Fourth Avenue Bridge in downtown Olympia was heavily damaged and was later torn down and re-built. In Seattle, the Alaskan Way Viaduct and its seawall were damaged, forcing the viaduct to close for emergency repairs and ultimately factoring into the decision to replace the viaduct entirely. As of this date, the viaduct is still being torn down.

Seattle Area Earthquake Hazards
Seattle Area Earthquake Hazards

I wondered how much of the Seattle region had been affected? A map of the Seattle area Seismic Hazards showed the area most likely to be affected. However, the video below shows the actual extent of the damage to our area. This has made us more aware of the type of home we want to build, with more consideration regarding the potential risk or advantages of building Earthships, straw bale, rammed earth, roundhouse, adobe, cob, Vardo tiny homes, tiny homes on wheels and bus conversions, in compared to convention home builds.

As part of our Cruise Ship Wave Network of more than 70 cruise and travel websites, we have the website Cruise Ship Weather which has the live alerts for earthquakes around the world. I checked the United States Geological Survey (USGS) feed to see how frequently the earth shakes to a significant degree in the Seattle area. I discovered  Cathcart, Monroe and Three Lakes  Washington all located in Snohomish County are shaking frequently with minor earthquakes measuring less than 5.0 at a depth of approximates 17 miles taking place on a regular basis.

Location: Keeping Perspective

In 2018,  the population of Washington was 7.536 million, in 2001 it was 5.988 million, in 1965 it was 2.967 million, in 1949 it was 2.294 million and in 1700 it was 250,888. Given the growth since 1700, I dare say there are thousands of new residents who have no idea of the risk posed to residents by earthquakes and possible tsunamis.

The history of earthquakes in the Puget Sound is an eye-opener. On April 4, 1965, a 6.7  earthquake struck the Sound with $12.5 million in damage. The 2001 earthquake, 36 years later, by comparison, caused $1–4 billion in damage.

5.77 Acres 2001 Nisqually Earthquake Property Damaged Map
5.77 Acres 2001 Nisqually Earthquake Map

Previously, a  6.7 earthquake,  struck on April 13, 1949, at 11:55:44 local time with an epicenter at Olympia, Washington caused $25 million in damages.   The shock was located in the area between Olympia and Tacoma and was felt throughout the state, as well as parts of Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho, and Montana.

Most interesting to me was the January 26, 1700 tsunami triggered by an 8.7–9.2 earthquake. The 1700 Cascadia earthquake occurred along the Cascadia subduction zone on January 26 with an estimated moment magnitude of 8.7–9.2. The megathrust earthquake involved the Juan de Fuca Plate from mid-Vancouver Island, south along the Pacific Northwest coast as far as northern California. The earthquake resulted in eight deaths and at least 64 injuries.

The earthquake shaking collapsed houses of the Cowichan people on Vancouver Island and caused numerous landslides. The shaking was so violent that people could not stand and so prolonged that it made them sick. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, the tsunami completely destroyed the winter village of the Pachena Bay people with no survivors.

Tsunami Japan January 27 1700
Tsunami Japan January 27 1700

The earthquake took place at about 21:00 Pacific Time on January 26, 1700. Although there are no written records for the region from the time, the timing of the earthquake has been inferred from Japanese records of a tsunami that does not correlate with any other Pacific Rim quake. The Japanese records exist primarily in the modern-day Iwate Prefecture, in communities such as Tsugaruishi, Kuwagasaki and Ōtsuchi.

USGS Region 10 supports the citizens and first responders of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and 271 tribes. The Region 1o page states, “We are currently focused on wildfire safety messaging as part of the Wildfire Awareness Month campaign. “. So, earthquakes are not the only issue with buying land; wildfires present a more predictable hazard to a tiny home, making the building materials used a major concern.

With open eyes, I have expanded and drilled down our list of promising tiny home build locations. With new knowledge in hand, we plan to explore properties on Sunday, since it will be sunny with a high of 82 degrees projected.

Video: Nisqually earthquake coverage –