Seattle earthquake injures 250; three serious

Thursday, March 01, 2001
The earthquake that struck north west America has left 250 people injured, with at least three in a serious condition.

The 6.8-magnitude quake centred on Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Seattle airport was temporarily shut, while power to hundreds of thousands of people was cut off.

The quake also cracked the dome on top of the Capitol in Olympia, and briefly trapped about 30 people on top of the landmark Space Needle, 605 feet above the city.

The earthquake was the strongest to hit Washington state in 52 years.

Experts said its depth - in a fault about 33 miles underground - spared the north west catastrophic damage.

Officials say millions of dollars spent to remodel buildings and roads to protect against earthquakes paid off.

In contrast, the 6.7-magnitude quake in Los Angeles in 1994 struck just 11 miles underground. It caused an estimated $40 billion damage and killed 72 people.

The north west quake was felt as far away as British Columbia and southern Oregon, 300 miles away.

Buildings in the centre of Portland, 140 miles from the epicentre, swayed for nearly 30 seconds and crowds gathered on street corners to talk about the quake.