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TitleModified mercalli intensities for nine earthquakes in central and western Washington between 1989 and 1999
AuthorBrocher, T M; Dewey, J W; Cassidy, J FORCID logo
SourceUnited States Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2017-1104, 2017, 82 pages, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20160102
PublisherUS Geological Survey
Documentopen file
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
AreaWashington; Orgeon; United States of America
Lat/Long WENS-124.0000 -119.0000 49.0000 44.7500
Subjectstectonics; earthquakes; seismic data; seismicity; Modified Mercalli (Seismic) Intensities (MMI); Point Robinson earthquake; Deming earthquake; Duvall earthquake; Satsop earthquake
Illustrationslocation maps; graphs; tables
ProgramPublic Safety Geoscience Western Canada Geohazards Project
Released2017 01 01
AbstractWe determine Modified Mercalli (Seismic) Intensities (MMI) for nine onshore earthquakes of magnitude 4.5 and larger that occurred in central and western Washington between 1989 and 1999, on the basis of effects reported in postal questionnaires, the press, and professional collaborators. The earthquakes studied include four earthquakes of M5 and larger: the M5.0 Deming earthquake of April 13, 1990, the M5.0 Point Robinson earthquake of January 29, 1995, the M5.4 Duvall earthquake of May 3, 1996, and the M5.8 Satsop earthquake of July 3, 1999. The MMI are assigned using data and procedures that evolved at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its Department of Commerce predecessors and that were used to assign MMI to felt earthquakes occurring in the United States between 1931 and 1986. We refer to the MMI assigned in this report as traditional MMI, because they are based on responses to postal questionnaires and on newspaper reports, and to distinguish them from MMI calculated from data contributed by the public by way of the internet. Maximum traditional MMI documented for the M5 and larger earthquakes are VII for the 1990 Deming earthquake, V for the 1995 Point Robinson earthquake, VI for the 1996 Duvall earthquake, and VII for the 1999 Satsop earthquake; the five other earthquakes were variously assigned maximum intensities of IV, V, or VI. Starting in 1995, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) published MMI maps for four of the studied earthquakes, based on macroseismic observations submitted by the public by way of the internet. With the availability now of the traditional USGS MMI interpreted for all the sites from which USGS postal questionnaires were returned, the four Washington earthquakes join a rather small group of earthquakes for which both traditional USGS MMI and some type of internet-based MMI have been assigned. The values and distributions of the traditional MMI are broadly similar to the internet-based PNSN intensities; we discuss some differences in detail that reflect differences in data-sampling procedure, differences in the procedure used to assign intensity numbers from macroseismic observations, and differences in how intensities are mapped.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This report documents felt intensity reports from Washington State and British Columbia for three moderate earthquakes that occurred in the 1990¿s. These earthquakes (magnitude 5 ¿ 5.8) were felt across Washington, northern Oregon, and southern British Columbia. By integrating intensity data from all of these regions, we provide an improved database that can be used to evaluate historic (pre-instrumental) earthquakes (for which felt information exists but no seismic recordings) and to better estimate the impacts of future earthquakes in Washington and British Columbia. This will contribute to improved earthquake and hazard models for southern British Columbia.

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