Northwest NEWS

February 18, 2002


Shake, rattle and roll at Burke Museum

by Deborah Stone
   Arts and Entertainment
   Feb. 28th marks the one-year anniversary of the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, a momentous event in our region's geological history.
   To acknowledge this event and draw attention to its significance, the Burke Museum is planning to launch an innovative exhibit focused on educating Northwest communities about earthquakes in the region.
   "The Big One: Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest" will focus on explaining why earthquakes are inevitable here, what are the hazards they present and how to prepare for future quakes.
   Visitors to the exhibit will learn about Northwest earthquakes from a variety of perspectives and through hands-on models, computer resources and other interesting interactive materials.
   A display from the 2001 event offers opportunities to get a look at a van crushed by falling bricks in Pioneer Square, view TV news coverage of the event and listen to tapes of 911 calls and the Sea-Tac air traffic control. Visitors can walk through a retrofitted house model and note important safety measures that they can take in their own houses, such as the proper strapping of water heaters.
   There will be a 3-D model of Northwest geology that lights up to show the location of historic and possible future earthquakes and a table that shakes to demonstrate the effects of earthquakes on buildings.
   Visitors will learn facts about earthquake science, current research techniques and follow the detective story that first convinced scientists that major earthquakes do happen in this region.
   A compact version of "The Big One" will be available for display in several communities around the Northwest.
   The traveling exhibit will include a free-standing panel display about the geological processes that cause earthquakes, the way they are detected and measured, the risks they present and how to prepare for them.
   Various interactive displays will accompany the display along with take-away information on preparedness measures.
   In each community that hosts the traveling exhibit, visiting scientist and Burke Museum Senior Regional Geologist Dr. Catherine Townsend will present public lectures on the nature of earthquakes in relation to the geological history of the Northwest. In addition, local schools and community groups will have access to accompanying study kits containing specimens, scientific instruments, books, videos and lesson plans.
   During the run of the exhibit at the Burke, a variety of public programs and lectures relating to earthquakes in this region will be presented. Highlights include a home earthquake safety weekend (March 30-31) and Quakefest! (April 27-28), two days of fun earthquake science activities for families.
   For more information about this upcoming exhibit, call the Burke at (206) 543-5590 or visit the museum's Web site at