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January 2013

Our Lahar Report is Tops!

The stats have been tallied and we (DNR Geology) were responsible for the most popular DNR news release of 2012!

According to the DNR communications department, our June 6, 2012 news brief titled "Mount Rainier lahar losses could reach $6 billion or more in Puyallup Valley" received the most hits (at almost 3500) of any www.dnr.wa.gov link during 2012. The news release summarized the findings of DNR hazard geologists Recep Cakir and Timothy Walsh from their official report "Loss Estimation Pilot Project for Lahar Hazards from Mount Rainier, Washington" (click here to download the full report in PDF). This report garnered much public interest and was highlighted by various local media organizations due to its emphasis on potential lahar damage costs that could result from a Mount Rainier lahar event in the Puyallup Valley. The results documented in the report were obtained through compilation and modeling of data using the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) multi-hazard model, HAZUS-MH.


The work of Cakir and Walsh not only resulted in the report, but also in a dedicated lahar interactive map theme that is hosted on our geologic information portal. The "Mount Rainier Lahar (Volcanic Mudflow) Hazards - Property at Risk" theme allows users to investigate impacts generated by the lahar models on their own areas of interest through use of the portal's locator and identification tools.


Well done to DNR geologists for their part in achieving this unusual accolade!

Sizing up Seismology
Hazards geologist, Ray Cakir, supervises seismic survey measurements made by undergraduate student assistants Frankie Pavia and Alec Cole.

Despite the dreary weather, Washington Geologic Survey's hazards geologists have been hard at work in the field. They are busy collecting seismic survey measurements and continually adding to a data catalog of shear wave velocity profiles throughout Washington State. Shear wave velocity is an important factor in earthquake-resistant design as designated by the International Building Code (IBC). These seismic site characterizations are part of a USGS-funded series of investigations and reports intended to provide geologic data and information essential to mitigate earthquake losses. Our previous reports from 2009-2011 can be obtained by visiting the USGS Earthquakes Hazards Program External Research Support site.


January Geology Image of the Month

This month's image features a successfully reclaimed mine site in Rock Island, to the southeast of Wenatchee, WA. The Rock Island sand pit now has a beautiful second life as an orchard. The termination inspection was performed during the first week of December 2012 by our own surface mining specialists Coire McCabe and Bryan Garcia (pictured here). Bryan explains, "This site had been a relic on the Surface Mine Reclamation books for years while we waited for the vegetation to establish itself and for some administrative issues to be cleared up. Upon notice that this site had met the minimum standards of RCW 78.44, Coire and I took the opportunity to inspect and terminate the permit for this site. It was an especially nice orchard that overlooks the Columbia River."


It seems a fitting start to the New Year to see a refreshing example of a lovely land restoration representing a job well done!



We welcome public contributions for the Geology Image of the Month feature. The images have pride-of-place as our header image for our blog site, www.washingtonstategeology.wordpress.com, for the month, and are archived in the blog site's Image Gallery.

If you have a Washington geology image that (1) you have the rights to share, (2) can be cropped horizontally to fit our header space, and (3) for which you have a detailed description of the subject matter, contact us! We'd love to show off your great pics!

What's New on the Portal?

  This week we continued to update our Geologic Information Portal with a wider selection of basemaps (including some of the Bing map offerings), and have replaced the basemap menu bar with a basemaps selector button. Located in the top left corner of the portal viewer, select the basemap you want by hovering your cursor over the Basemaps selector button and clicking on the basemap of your choice.

New Publications
The end of 2012 brought a number of new Geology publications to our readers.
Geologic Quadrangle Maps
Two STATEMAP 7.5-minute geologic maps of the Eldon and Brinnon quadrangles are now available online in PDF format. Click here for Eldon (75 MB) and here for Brinnon (23 MB) to download zip files containing the map plates and associated pamphlets. You can also contact the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services to order paper copies of the maps.
Oil and Gas Well Dataset
Also now available online is an easy-to-use compilation dataset summarizing all oil and gas exploration wells and well test sites spanning from 1890 to the present. Click here to download a zip file of the data in Excel format with the accompanying pamphlet (1.4 MB). This dataset contains refined locations and attributes of all permitted oil and gas wells, as well as wells drilled before state law required permits to drill. It also contains an inventory of geophysical logs and other permit documents for wells and provides hyperlinks for each scanned document.

The Oil and Gas Well dataset is intended to match the GIS-format data available on Washington State Information Portal Earth Resource Permit Locations map theme, found here. This publication will be regularly revised to reflect new oil and gas well data as it become available for public use, or as better information is found for existing wells. Work on this project was funded by a U.S. Department of Energy geothermal grant as a contribution to the National Geothermal Data System. 

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Upcoming Event! - The 65th Annual Meeting of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute comes to Seattle.
On February 12-15 2013, The 65th Annual Meeting of EERI will take place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Seattle WA (721 Pine Street). DNR geologists are on the organizing committee and will be moderating sessions at this meeting. For more information about registering and attending go to http://2013am.eeri.org.

A special pre-meeting workshop detailing events and experiences of the 2010-2011Christchurch New Zealand earthquake sequence and their relevance to Washington will be held on February 12, and is intended for a public audience. To get more information and register (there's a $30 registration fee) please click here.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources | 360-902-1000 | bob.redling@dnr.wa.gov | http://www.dnr.wa.gov
1111 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98501

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