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March 2013

On Site at the Whidbey Island Landslide Event.
Although it is a still-developing story, we thought our readers would be interested to know that DGER hazards geologists are on location and assisting at the site of the March 27th landslides on Whidbey Island. For more information about this event, check out DNR's Ear to the Ground blog.
Isabelle at Whidbey Island
Hazards Geologist, Isabelle Sarikhan, assesses the Whidbey Island landslide event.

Please Welcome our new Geology Librarian!
Stephanie Earls, Geology Librarian
Stephanie Earls, new DGER librarian.

Please join us in welcoming an important new addition to the Washington Geological Survey-librarian Stephanie Earls! Stephanie will be replacing Lee Walkling, who is retiring in April 2013.


Stephanie has relocated back to the Pacific Northwest after three years as the Utah Department of Natural Resources librarian. She has a B.S. in geology from University of Utah, and a M.S. in library and information science from University of Washington. In addition, she worked as an environmental consultant for three years prior to graduate school.  


She is active in various professional organizations related to both geology and librarianship. In her free time, she loves rolling through the world self-propelled on two wheels, cooking, and dancing.


Her vision for the Washington Geology Library is to spread the word about the amazing resources available in the library and make them as accessible as possible by way of an updated library catalog and a shift toward more digital information available online. Please contact her with any questions via email (stephanie.earls@dnr.wa.gov) or phone (360-902-1473).

Honeycomb Chuckanut Formation  


March Geology Image of the Month

Our March image of a fantastical sedimentary outcrop in Echo Bay, Sucia Island comes from Geology Division IT specialist and avid sailor, David Jeschke, who took the picture on one of his many voyages. He tells us that "this is an Eocene continental sedimentary deposit of the Chuckanut formation. 


Upon initial publication of the image on our blogsite, geologist Stephen Slaughter pointed out the work of George Mustoe (WWU) in describing these features, saying "[Mustoe] attributes the honeycomb shape to the result of microscopic algae inhabiting the rock surface and 'hardening' the delicate honeycomb surface." The resulting reinforcement, in addition to the wave-splash process of cyclic salt crystal accumulation, expansion, and desiccation, likely forms and preserves these remarkable weathering structures in the Chuckanut Formation. Stephen also draws our attention to Mustoe's 1982 paper on the topic.


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 Web?


As a response to public feedback we (at the Division of Geology and Earth Resources) have been able to create new, streamlined URLs to a couple of our most used and viewed webpages.

  1. The DNR Geology Division homepage may now be found at www.dnr.wa.gov/geology 
  2. The menu page for our interactive geology map portal may now be found at www.dnr.wa.gov/geologyportal 

Never fear-the old links (homepage = http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/GeologyEarthSciences/Pages/Home.aspx and portal page = http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/GeosciencesData/Pages/geology_portal.aspx) will continue to work so your bookmarks won't break!


p.s. Stay tuned to www.dnr.wa.gov/geology within the next few weeks-we are revising it to make it a more logically ordered and easier-to-use homepage.

New Publications

Report of Investigations 36. Earthquake-induced landslide and liquefaction susceptibility and initiation potential maps for tsunami inundation zones in Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Cosmopolis, Grays Harbor County, Washington, for a M9+ Cascadia subduction zone event, by S. L. Slaughter, T. J. Walsh, Anton Ypma, K. M. D. Stanton, Recep Cakir, and T. A. Contreras. 2013. Two color sheets: 36 x 43 in. and 36 x 28 in., scale 1:18,000, plus 39 p. text.[53.5 MB]

This publication is available free online at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/ger_ri36_aberdeen_liquefaction.zip. A limited number have been plotted and will be sold through the Washington Department of Enterprise Services for $38.61.

This report assesses the earthquake-induced ground failure potential, including soil liquefaction and landslides, for the communities of Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, and Hoquiam in Grays Harbor County, Washington.


The probability of soil liquefaction increases with the duration of shaking, and slopes that are stable under static conditions may fail under large ground accelerations. A Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake of magnitude (M) 9+ could produce ground accelerations on the Washington coast of as much as 0.40 g (g is the acceleration due to gravity) and shaking durations of as much as several minutes, sufficient to initiate soil liquefaction and shallow landslides. Soil liquefaction can damage transportation networks, such as roads and bridges, and landslides; even very small landslides can render a road impassable to automobiles. These ground failures can complicate or prohibit vehicular evacuation, as well as hamper emergency response and recovery efforts.


The objective of this report is to assist city and emergency management officials in evaluating the suitability of existing evacuation routes and assembly areas for potential susceptibility to ground failure from a M9+ CSZ earthquake. Results of this report could indicate the need to modify current evacuation routes and assembly areas. Understanding which areas are more susceptible to ground failure during a large earthquake can help communities prepare for potentially obstructed transportation networks, toppled buildings, and other secondary seismic hazards.


Information Circular 114. Resilient Washington State-A framework for minimizing loss and improving statewide recovery after an earthquake; Final report and recommendations, by the Resilient Washington State Subcommittee. 2012. 33 p. [2.9 MB]

This publication is available free online at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/ger_ic114_resilient_washington_state.pdf.

The Washington State Seismic Safety Committee (SSC) initiated a project in early 2010 to prepare a policy paper with the purpose of creating a framework for improving Washington's resilience when earthquakes occur. To complete this effort, the SSC formed a subcommittee of more than 100 key experts and stakeholders called the Resilient Washington State (RWS) Subcommittee. The RWS Subcommittee defined a resilient state as "One that maintains services and livelihoods after an earthquake. In the event that services and livelihoods are disrupted, recovery occurs rapidly, with minimal social disruption, and results in a new and better condition." Participants used a two-pronged approach to assessing how long certain critical infrastructure and services may be down after an earthquake. Experts used information from the Earthquake Scenario Catalog project developed by Washington Emergency Management and others as well as the USGS National Seismic Hazard Maps. This approach enabled the first holistic and comprehensive assessment of how long it would currently take for Washington State to recover from a serious earthquake as well as identified realistic target timeframes for recovery. This report will be used to facilitate long-term implementation of seismic risk reduction policies across the state with the goal of making the state resilient in a 50-year time frame.
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Washington State Department of Natural Resources | 360-902-1000 | bob.redling@dnr.wa.gov | http://www.dnr.wa.gov
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