Lake Chelan Earthquake

December 14, 2001


Provided by: MODIS Science Team
Summary authors & editors: Martin Ruzek

Today marks the anniversary of one of the largest earthquakes in US history, striking the Lake Chelan area of Washington state on December 14, 1872 at 9:40 pm. Located midway between Seattle and Spokane, the earthquake was felt from British Columbia, Canada, to Oregon and from the Pacific Ocean to Montana and is estimated to have been about magnitude 7. Extensive landslides occurred in the slide-prone areas of the Columbia River and one massive slide at Ribbon Cliff blocked the Columbia River for several hours. At Chelan Falls, "a great hole opened in the earth" from which water spouted as much as 9 meters in the air. The geyser activity continued for several days and left permanent springs. Many aftershocks were reported in the area over the next 2 years. The recent Nisqually earthquake which struck south of Seattle earlier this year also reminds us of the fact that the Pacific Northwest is home to major seismic activity.

The MODIS image above was acquired on August 11, 2001.

Related Links: