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Newly discovered fault could produce huge quakes

By CHRIS SULLIVAN
KIRO Radio

The earthquake danger in our state could be a lot worse than anyone thought.

A small fault around Whidbey Island actually extends through the Cascades across the state.

The fault was believed to be limited to around Whidbey Island, but new mapping shows it stretches 250 to 300 miles from Canada to at least Yakima.

Geologists say the fault is capable of producing a 7 magnitude or greater earthquake .

"They said they're already doing exercises based on this in Pierce County. They're taking action almost as we speak," said Congressman Norm Dicks, who was briefed Friday morning.

Dicks is the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees funding for the U.S. Geological Survey. He says the fault is now a priority for his office.

What makes this fault a little unusual is that it runs east-west across the state. Most of the faults in our region run north-south.

The fault appears to be connected to most of the other major faults in the area.

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