Nisqually Earthquake shook the Pacific Northwest 20 years ago today

Nisqually earthquake quake Pioneer Square courtesy of King CountyPioneer Square, courtesy of King County

SEATTLE, Wash. — Twenty years ago today, the Nisqually Earthquake shook Puget by Sound and reverberated all the way to Oregon, Idaho and Canada, destroying billions of dollars in property.

The 6.8 magnitude quake occurred February 28, 2001 at 10:54 a.m. and lasted nearly a minute.


Governor Jay Inslee


It has been 20 years today since the Nisqually Earthquake hit our state. The best time to prepare for the next one is now. @waEMD has resources to help you and your family plan.


10:10 AM · Feb 28, 2021

No one was directly killed by the quake, but hundreds of people were injured. Several neighborhoods in Seattle were battered by the quake—including First Hill, Pioneer Square and SoDo. The air traffic control tower at Sea-Tac was damaged as well as the Fort Lewis-McChord Air Force Base. There was even damage recorded in Victoria, British Columbia.

The state rolled out several infrastructural changes in the wake of the quake, understanding that the Pacific Northwest had just narrowly dodged a potentially catastrophic disaster. While that may be the case, Washington Emergency Management says you should always be prepared for the next quake.