Case studies


Megaquakes: planning for the next big one in Cascadia

The clock is ticking for the Pacific Northwest’s next big earthquake, which are a fact of life in our region.  The stunning landscapes that make locals beam with pride and attract visitors from around the world are shaped by tectonic forces that produce megaquakes.
Those megaquakes pose potentially catastrophic threats in Cascadia, as highlighted in the recent New Yorker article, “The Really Big One.” When the last big one hit – a magnitude 9 in January of 1700 – the Puget Sound Basin was sparsely populated by native Americans living along the shorelines and in mountain valleys. 

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Washington meets ocean acidification head on

The waters of Puget Sound teem with life, an abundance that has allowed humans to thrive in this region for millennia. Today over four million people call western Washington home, in part because the vibrant Salish Sea makes it a spectacular place to live.
Yet here at home and across the globe, oceans are changing in many different ways. One of those changes is the onset of what’s commonly called ocean acidification, which is a shift in seawater chemistry. 

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Combating global climate change is fun and games for EarthGamesUW

Many adults share the idea that kids in our digital age should be spending more time outdoors. But Atmospheric Sciences’ Dargan Frierson contends that gaming is an essential way to teach children and young adults about the natural world, inspire them to spend time in it, and most importantly, include them in the conversation about preserving it in the face of climate change. 

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Protecting a place for the people by the water

Where the Swinomish Tribe lives is not just a place on a map. It is the land and seashores of their ancestors, a bridge to their past and their future. It is more than a home — it is who they are. Swinomish literally means “people by the water.”
This connection to place drives the Swinomish people to steward and care for their land with passion and dedication. 

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