Quake shakes North Tacoma

Map of earthquakes in the last two weeks in western Washington.
Map of earthquakes in the last two weeks in western Washington.

A small earthquake shook an area north of Tacoma on Monday afternoon, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network reported. The magnitude 3.0 quake occurred 5.6 miles north-northwest of Tacoma and 20 miles south of Seattle at 12:29 p.m.

More than 1,000 earthquakes occur in Washington State annually. Washington has a record of at least 20 damaging earthquakes during the past 125 years. Most of these earthquakes were in western Washington, but several, including the largest historic earthquake in Washington (1872) since European settlement, occurred east of the Cascade crest.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE IN AN EARTHQUAKE If you find yourself in a large magnitude earthquake, follow these tips from FEMA’s Ready.gov


If Indoors

  • DROP to the ground; take COVER by getting under a sturdy table or other piece of furniture; and HOLD ON until the shaking stops. If there isn’t a table or desk near you, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.
  • Do not use a doorway except if you know it is a strongly supported, load-bearing doorway and it is close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and do not offer protection..
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.
  • DO NOT use the elevators.
  • Be aware that the electricity may go out or the sprinkler systems or fire alarms may turn on.

If Outdoors

  • Stay there.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
  • Once in the open, stay there until the shaking stops. The greatest danger exists directly outside buildings, at exits and alongside exterior walls. Ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related casualties result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects.

If in a Moving Car

  • Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
  • Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If Trapped Under Debris

  • Do not light a match.
  • Do not move about or kick up dust.
  • Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.

If you feel an earthquake, leave any damaged area as soon as it is safe to do so, report the problem immediately to your local Emergency Management Agency.


Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources

City/County Emergency, Health, and Planning Departments