• Geologists assessing local schools for earthquake vulnerability

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff


    FIFE, Wash. - Many students in Washington state go to schools in danger of crumbling in the next big earthquake, according to the Washington Geological Survey.

    It now has a team assessing 220 schools across the state.

    The results of the testing have not been released, but the News Tribune reports the researchers put devices into the baseball field called geophones and used the sound of a sledgehammer hitting the ground to help determine what kind of soil the school sits on.

    On its website, the Washington Geological Survey outlines the reason for the testing.

    Sand and softer soils can magnify an earthquake, so they want to know what's below each school. Engineers are also doing building inspections.

    The geological survey says 200 Washington schools are within one mile of a known active fault trace and many won't hold up in a major earthquake.

    The project will help the state know which schools need retrofits and prioritize them for funding.

    "We should know how many of our schools are at risk and which schools need to be retrofit,” said Corina Forson, Chief Hazards Geologist with the Washington Geological Survey.

    Work is expected to continue through next year.

    Retrofit plans will be made for 20 of the chosen schools.

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