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March 8, 2001

Media Contact: Troy Anderson, (858) 822-3075


Editor's Note: More information available at

Structural engineers at UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering will present their findings from a recent reconnaissance trip to earthquake-stricken western Washington. The free public seminar will be held from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. on March 12 in the university's Center for Magnetic Recording Research (CMRR) auditorium on Matthews Lane. For more information, contact Andre Filiatrault at 858-822-2161.

The reconnaissance team, which included Professors Andre Filiatrault and Chia-Ming Uang, visited the Puget Sound area on March 2 to assess the performance of buildings, bridges, and non-structural components during the 6.8 magnitude quake. The team found that because the earthquake was deep, there was limited damage. However, damage to non-structural components such, as building contents, facade, and equipment was high. Finally, the earthquake retrofit procedures in place were successful. Their complete findings and observations will be presented during the seminar and are available online at The building codes in Washington are the same as those in California, which makes the lessons learned from the quake especially applicable.

The Washington Emergency Management Division tallied more than 400 injuries directly linked to the earthquake. Preliminary reports estimated that damage had already reached $2 billion. The main shock of the seismic event occurred at 10:54 a.m. on February 28, and originated at a depth of 49 km. The epicenter of the earthquake was located in the Nisqually Valley at a distance of about 20 km northeast of Olympia or 60 km southwest of Seattle.

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