Puget Sound at risk for potential large earthquake
By LeiLani Hector - Staff Reporter
A large earthquake in an urban area, a locally gener- ated tsunami and large land- slides -- the Puget Sound could go through the same disaster that occurred in Palu, Indonesia, a Highline Geology professor said here last week.
Dr. Eric Baer kicked off the second week of the Science Seminar, which is a weekly series of all things science, with his presentation titled: The 2018 Palu, Indonesia Earthquake, on Oct. 12.
The people of Palu, Indonesia suffered from a shallow earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5, followed by a surprise tsunami and landslides, early on the morning of Sept. 28.
"There were a couple of earthquakes before the big earthquake. These are called foreshocks," Dr. Baer said.
The people of Palu had suffered a foreshock, or a smaller earthquake, of a 6.1 magnitude at least five hours prior to the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that destroyed a large portion of the city.
Shortly after the 7.5 earthquake, Palu was struck by a surprise tsunami that was created by the strike-slip fault from the earthquake, which killed thou- sands of people.
So why should we care about that? Dr. Baer asked.
Aside from sympathizing and maybe even empathizing with the people of Palu, the Puget Sound and Palu, Indonesia have many geologic similarities as well.
Some of these similarities include:
• A long and narrow bay.
• Mountains that could lead to landslides.
• Limited connections to other places, due to having roads surrounding Palu and the Puget Sound.
• Lots of rain, which increases the possibility of liquefaction of the soil.
All these similarities show what could happen to the Puget Sound if an earthquake were to happen.
So, what can you do? Dr. Baer asked.
Some of the things people can do in order to prepare are:
• Create a survival kit -- have food, water, first aid kit, etc.
• Create a plan with friends and family on what to do or where to go if they get separated.
• Get to high ground if someone feels an earthquake and you are along the coast. There could a possibility that a tsunami will follow a quake and they do not want to be anywhere near a coast if it happened.
And the best way to get around is to "go by foot and not by car," Dr. Baer said. If someone finds themselves
experiencing an earthquake, the best things to remember are:
• Houses are good buildings to be in during earthquakes. There is a low possibility of getting seriously injured, he said.
• If someone finds themselves outside, they should run away from buildings because their outsides could peel off and hit them.
• If someone finds themselves in or near an open field, then they have hit the jackpot he said.
"One of the safer places you could be is in a field," there's practically nothing to fall on you, he said.
And always remember to drop, cover and hold on, and to protect one's head any way you can.
"Head injuries are the single largest injury in earthquake cases," Dr. Baer said.
Science Seminar will resume on Oct. 26 with University of Washington Cardiology Professor Dr. Stoyan Angelov giving his presentation on Pathologic Basis of Aortic Aneurysms.