WA (March 1, 2001)
strong earthquake hit the Seattle area which has resulted in extensive
damage to downtown buildings and early reports of countless injuries
and widespread property damage. No deaths have been reported at the
time of this posting, but many have been taken to area hospitals for
Reportedly, some area bridges have had
expansion joints pop up, though none of the structures seem to have
failed. The Seattle/Tacoma airport closed right after the quake, with
early reports indicating that there are problems with the control
tower, namely windows blown out as a result of the quake.
The shaker was originally estimated at a
magnitude of 6.2, but within a couple of hours, it had been upgraded
up to 7.0, then down to 6.8 by seismic experts. According to the
National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., the epicenter
of the quake was 35 miles southwest of Seattle, near Olympia, and
occurred at a depth of about 30 miles. Seattle-area media accounts
said that the powerful tremor lasted as long as 20 seconds.
The Seattle area is home to a number of game
companies, including Microsoft
Corp. and Nintendo
of America Inc., both located in Redmond, which is northeast of
Seattle, and therefore a bit farther from the quakes center. Early
reports indicate that the companies experienced some minor damage and
frayed nerves, but no reports of injuries or structural damage.
A Nintendo spokesperson said that the company
staff is well-trained at emergency procedures, and indicated that
everyone started acting on those about three seconds after the
quake began. She also noted that existing cracks in the building
have widened as a result, some pictures fell off the walls and light
fixtures opened up. Within two hours, the company seemed to be back to
relatively normal operation.
There were no injuries, she said, and
everyones back to working nowthough a little more tense than
The situation at Microsofts campus was
similar, with a spokesperson saying that the building shook a great
deal. However, there was no significant damage reported, power
stayed on throughout and after the quake, and the company returned to
business as usual in short order.