A Tsunami About 1000 Years Ago in Puget Sound, Washington

Science  04 Dec 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5088, pp. 1614-1617
DOI: 10.1126/science.258.5088.1614


Water surged from Puget Sound sometime between 1000 and 1100 years ago, overrunning tidal marshes and mantling them with centimeters of sand. One overrun site is 10 kilometers northwest of downtown Seattle; another is on Whidbey Island, some 30 kilometers farther north. Neither site has been widely mantled with sand at any other time in the past 2000 years. Deposition of the sand coincided—to the year or less—with abrupt, probably tectonic subsidence at the Seattle site and with landsliding into nearby Lake Washington. These findings show that a tsunami was generated in Puget Sound, and they tend to confirm that a large shallow earthquake occurred in the Seattle area about 1000 years ago.

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