DNR expert shows international visitors the sites and geologic hazards of Puget Sound

geo hazards tour of Puget Sound
Tim Walsh (center, in Navy blue shirt) gave emergency planning officials from Australia and New Zealand, as well as from FEMA, a tour of Puget Sound’s geologic hazards. Photo: Meredith Payne/DNR.

It was one of those rare, gloriously clear and warm days on Puget Sound a week ago last Thursday. What a perfect time for a guided tour of the area’s major geological hazards, we thought. DNR Chief Hazards Geologist Tim Walsh led a field trip composed of FEMA and state officials and their counterparts from Australia and New Zealand.

While traversing Elliott Bay on the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry, Walsh described the numerous earthquake and tsunami threats to the Seattle area, recounting evidence of past Seattle Fault activity and associated tsunami events along the ferry’s route. The Australian and Kiwi emergency managers reflected on their own personal experiences during the ensuing discussion of the impacts and mitigation of geological disasters. The officials were in Washington state, July 15-17, to attend a conference hosted by the regional FEMA office.

 The DNR Division of Geology and Earth Resources provides:

  • • Evaluation of geologic hazards and advice on their mitigation
    • Information to aid disaster response and damage assessment
    • Mapping of surface and subsurface geological formations

The division also maintains the Washington State Geologic Information Portal, which allows you to create, save, and print custom maps showing various geologic hazards for almost any location in the state.

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