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Traveling Exhibits Service

The Big One: Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest

The Big One: Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest addresses key questions that every Northwesterner should know—Why are earthquakes inevitable here? What hazards do they present? What can we do to prepare?

Visitors will learn about the geological processes that cause Northwest earthquakes, the ways earthquakes are detected and measured, the hazards they present, and steps we can all take to make our homes and families safer. There are also examples of intriguing earthquake research, including the fascinating scientific detective story that proved that major earthquakes—The Big One—really do happen here.

The Big One also features a 3-D model of the Northwest that pulls apart and lights up to show the location of past (and possible future) earthquakes, take-home information, hands-on examples of earthquake safety techniques, and a variety of computer resources. Also available for partnerships with local schools is a classroom study kit on earthquake science and safety.

The Big One: Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest was created by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington, Seattle, in collaboration with the region’s leading earthquake experts.

Major support for the exhibition was provided by State Farm Insurance Companies, the National Science Foundation, Washington Sea Grant, The Boeing Company, and the University of Washington. Additional project partners include Washington State Emergency Management Division, the US Geological Survey, Seattle Project Impact, and the Cascadia Region Earthquake Work Group (CREW).

Visit The Big One: Online Exhibit

Itinerary and Availability Information

Exhibit Specifications:


6-section, free-standing full-color panel display

Northwest Quakes

Rocks of the Crust & Mantle

Participation Fee

$1,200 for an 8-week booking period; $75 for each additional week

Note: Fee includes insurance, shipping, publicity materials, and hand-outs


Exhibition CD

Publicity kit including promotional images and press release

Classroom study kit on earthquake science and safety


20 running feet or 100 square feet depending on arrangement of panels

9-foot ceilings

Power drop

PC with monitor




750 Lbs.




Shipping arrangements to be made by the Burke Museum in coordination with the host venue

On February 28, 2001, Northwest residents received a dramatic reminder that we live in earthquake country. The Nisqually earthquake cracked buildings, crushed cars, and closed SeaTac airport. Seattle, WA 2001.
Former Governor Gary Locke examines a large fracture formed in the street surface after the Nisqually earthquake. Olympia, WA, 2001.

For more information, please contact:
Mark R. Hand
Traveling Exhibits Coordinator
Phone: 206-616-0268
E-mail: mrhand@u.washington.edu