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Throwback Thursday: Tri-Cities Is Earthquake Country!


Franklin County experienced a serious earthquake during the night of July 15, 1936 — the strongest in the Mid Columbia since 1872. That’s right, as infrequent as it sounds, Tri-Cities is earthquake country.

See a map of recent earthquakes in the Mid Columbia

According to the Pasco Herald, the first shock was reported around 11 p.m. with the strongest quakes felt around Kahlotus.

It was described as short, but still sent residents fleeing into the street with only their pajamas on. The telephone company was flooded with people calling the operator. The movie theater’s projector operator cut off the film and a Milton-Freewater cannery lost $10,000 in product shaken to the ground.

But here’s my favorite quote:

Old time residents of Pasco report that the shock was one of the most severe ever recorded here.

So they were clearly used to multiple earthquakes if they identified it as “one of the most severe”!

According to the government report, the epicenter was near Walla Walla. 105,000 square miles were impacted and total property damage was around $100,000.

My favorite quote from the report:

In the cemeteries about 70 percent of the stones rotated clockwise, viewed from above.  Some stones in opposite proximity to each other rotated in opposite directions.

 Courtesy of the Franklin County Historical Society & Museum

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