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U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3023

In cooperation with Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, Dept. of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, and Washington State Department of Natural Resources

A Magnitude 7.1 Earthquake in the Tacoma Fault Zone—A Plausible Scenario for the Southern Puget Sound Region, Washington

By Joan Gomberg, Brian Sherrod, Craig Weaver, and Art Frankel


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (5 MB)

The U.S. Geological Survey and cooperating scientists have recently assessed the effects of a magnitude 7.1 earthquake on the Tacoma Fault Zone in Pierce County, Washington. A quake of comparable magnitude struck the southern Puget Sound region about 1,100 years ago, and similar earthquakes are almost certain to occur in the future. The region is now home to hundreds of thousands of people, who would be at risk from the shaking, liquefaction, landsliding, and tsunamis caused by such an earthquake. The modeled effects of this scenario earthquake will help emergency planners and residents of the region prepare for future quakes.

  • This report is also available in print from:

    USGS Information Services, Box 25286,
    Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225
    telephone: 888 ASK-USGS; e-mail:

For additional information:
Contact Information, Earthquake Science Center, Seattle, Washington Field Office
U.S. Geological Survey
Dept. Earth & Space Sciences
University of Washington, Box 351310
Seattle, WA 98195-1310

This report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Gomberg, Joan, Sherrod, Brian, Weaver, Craig, and Frankel, Art, 2010, A magnitude 7.1 earthquake in the Tacoma Fault Zone; a plausible scenario for the southern Puget Sound region, Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010-3023, 4 p.

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