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Earthquakes Shake Center With U Of W Traveling Exhibition

Program opens Feb. 28 at Discovery Center in The Dalles.

Earthquakes shake the very foundation of the Pacific Northwest.

A sudden movement of the Pacific seafloor 32 miles (52 km) beneath south Puget Sound sends shock waves racing in all directions through our planet. It took only 40 seconds of surface vibration to cause 400 injuries and $2 billion in damages in western Washington and Oregon -- a stark reminder from the Earth of the primeval geologic motion that created the Pacific Northwest.

"The Big One: Earthquakes of the Pacific Northwest," a traveling exhibit designed by the Burke Museum of Natural and Cultural History/University of Washington will open Feb. 28, 2002 at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.

This exhibit designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences, presents information that every Northwesterner should know about why we have earthquakes, the hazards they present, and what we can do to prepare.

Developed in collaboration with leading scientists from the University of Washington and a wide range of public partners, The Big One presents up-to-date science in everyday language through graphics, photos, text and two hands-on models.

Visitors will discover how earthquakes work, the types of earthquakes common to the Pacific Northwest, and how scientist use seismographs to record, measure, and interpret the earth movements.

The Big One also tracks devastating earthquakes in our historical record and presents ways we can prepare for future quakes.

Elementary and middle school classrooms will have the opportunity to check out earthquake study kits, which are designed with activities to enhance the students' experience and help them meet state learning requirements in earth sciences.

"It's guaranteed people will leave with a better understanding of earthquakes and how to prepare for them," said Patty Garland, curator of exhibits and education at the center. "We have built an array public programming around this exhibit to enhance the visitor's experience."

Accompanying the exhibit, Dr. Cathy Townsend, regional senior geologist, will host Earthquakes, Mountains, and the Geologic History of Washington through the Visiting Scientist Program sponsored by The National Science Foundation, The Boeing Company, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and the University of Washington.

Through a vivid slide show, Dr. Townsend places current earthquakes and geologic events into a geologic time scale, reminding us that the most fundamental aspects of our natural history have been at work building the Pacific Northwest for over a billion years.

Presentations will be held Saturday, March 2, at 11 a.m. at the Discovery Center and at 1:30 p.m. at the Skylight Theatre in Hood River. A final presentation will be held at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, on Sunday, March 3, at 11 a.m.

The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center will host Emergency Survival Forums, March 7. The afternoon session will focus on Business Emergency Survival from 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.

Homeowner Emergency Survival is the focus for the evening session, from 7 - 9 p.m.

This one-day event will educate the public about earthquake and emergency preparedness.

The Forum is sponsored by Cascadia Research Earthquake Workgroup, Wasco County Emergency Manager's Office, and the Discovery Center.

In addition, museum interpreters will be hosting geology talks on March 9, 16, and 23 at 1 and 3 p.m.

A family activity day entitled Earthquakes, Rocks, and Volcanoes: Learning About and Playing with Rocks in the Gorge will be held on Sunday, March 17, from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information on upcoming exhibits, please contact the center at (541) 296-8600.

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