A rain of data
December 28, 2015 2:45 PM   Subscribe

The Seattle Natural Hazard Explorer lets you explore where different parts of the city of Seattle, Washington are most vulnerable to potentially catastrophic geological events like earthquakes (previously) and volcanoes. It is one of many visualizations or choropleths that connect ever-changing data with explorable geographic locations, such as an Atlas for a Changing Planet and Syria: Epicenter of a Deepening Refugee Crisis
posted by a lungful of dragon (12 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
As long as the landslide, flood, or liquefaction event happens while I'm somewhere between home and work, I should be fine. Wherever I'm headed, though, might not be there. At least I'm safe from flooding and 5m Tsunamis!
posted by Sunburnt at 3:12 PM on December 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I am enjoying the reassurance of living in the grayed out areas just a bit north of these maps. I am certain that means we are perfectly safe.
posted by bearwife at 3:22 PM on December 28, 2015 [7 favorites]

Looks like I have to worry about landslides and earthquakes at home. This is a cool and useful tool, thanks!

Wow, University Village and Husky Stadium are in some trouble in the event of earthquake. Oddly, the rest of UW and the U District are pretty safe.

All the filled-in areas (Interbay, Sodo, Harbor Island), are at greatest liquefaction risk (seems fairly obvious why).
posted by Existential Dread at 3:25 PM on December 28, 2015

So as far as earthquakes go, being in a green area is better than being in a red area, correct? Since my house is basically in the middle of the fault zone, I hope my reading of this is correct. Gonna have to show this to the fiancée, give her one more thing to worry about :) And this just proves that her instincts about not buying in Georgetown because of the risk of flooding (not to mention the previously unthought-of liquefaction!) were right. Very interesting, thanks.
posted by friendlyjuan at 3:43 PM on December 28, 2015

I feel like catastrophizing is being ruined by its popularity.
posted by srboisvert at 3:51 PM on December 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yeah - I love Georgetown, but I wouldn't want to be any closer than safely over on top of Beacon Hill.
posted by wotsac at 5:04 PM on December 28, 2015

Bearwife, exactly! Haha, I was swiping through it pretending that the eternal greyness of my eastside neighborhood means that NOTHING BAD OR SCARY WILL EVER HAPPEN, EVER
posted by town of cats at 6:09 PM on December 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Dang, city-limits info only?? I was hoping to have an existential angst party about where I live in Bothell or work in Kirkland but NO GO
posted by clavier at 6:49 PM on December 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ok, so having mucked about on Wikipedia for a while, this is how I understand what is being represented on the earthquake map:

Earthquake severity can be expressed in terms of g, which is the same as g-force, or acceleration due to the earth's gravity. It is equal to 9.81 meters per second-squared.

The map shows the maximum strength of earthquake that is expected (with 10% likelihood) to occur within the next 50 years. An earthquake with a strength of 50-60% of g (pumpkin orange on the map) would be one strong enough to do moderate damage to well-designed buildings, especially if prolonged. An earthquake with a strength of 110-145% of g (brick red on the map) would be profoundly destructive, and expected to smash up even very sturdy structures.

For comparison:

An earthquake with a peak ground acceleration of 2% of g (or 0.02g) (not shown on the map) would be strong enough to knock a person off their feet.

The 2010 Haiti earthquake had a peak ground acceleration of 0.5 g.

The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake has a peak ground acceleration of 2.2g.

In conclusion:

In Seattle, our earthquake risk ranges from "OH SHIT!" to "OMIGOD, NO, NO, AUUGHH!"

I personally live in the "OH SHIT!" zone.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:11 PM on December 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

clavier, with the King County iMap you can totally have yourself that existential angst party!

Plus, if you like, you can do some extra fretting over purple loosestrife and meth labs.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:17 PM on December 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

Well, the only real risk in Mt Baker is earthquakes, but man... 60-80% of g. That's gonna be ugly with a house that's 100+ years old.

I love that they're making this information more available and more accessible.
posted by petrilli at 7:57 PM on December 28, 2015

This supports what people were saying after the last decent sized earthquake, which was that pioneer square and the waterfront are going to be utterly horizontal.

They did this sim video specifically about the viaduct and waterfront, but several buildings were basically writeoffs after the last earthquake. One of them survived into the 2010s before the city essentially condemned it(with HUGE cracks in the walls/structural bits). I was in there one time when the fire marshall/SFD inspectors showed up, at an art event with some of my friends. Someone sarcastically asked one of the guys what we should do if the place caught on fire or there was another earthquake.

"Jump out the windows".

We started to laugh until we realized he was completely serious and was giving us the Parental Glare.

There's some empty buildings down there that were just never really repaired after the last earthquake, but i bet most of them are going to be flat after this one. There's some more rickety buildings in other parts of town i could see being teardown levels of damaged or partially collapsing or something too.

I'm not a structural engineer or anything, but this city doesn't inspect anything and doesn't enforce much. There's lots of places with Really Bad™ damage from the last earthquake where they even had someone come out and put one of those fancy measuring stickers on a crack in the foundation/a beam/big concrete post/whatever and then it got bigger or some repair was recommended and... nothing. I've lived in one, even.

I was interviewed on tv for this, it WAS from the earthquake. I can't even dig up the article, but a lot of brick structures had the facades fly off raining bricks on the street. It's not even just about buildings actually collapsing, stuff flying off of them when they fail in some way is almost as dangerous. And there's a TON of buildings that probably wouldn't fall down, but would fuck people up all over town.
posted by emptythought at 2:37 AM on December 29, 2015

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