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New scientific data is proving that a major fault line under Snohomish County is much larger than once thought.

Snohomish County Emergency Management officials say the South Whidbey Fault is more extensive, and in the event of an earthquake,
the damages would be more significant than predicted.

We've always known that the fault line was there, but we didn't know it was connected to so many smaller fault lines in the area,
said John Pennington, Director of Snohomish County Emergency Management.

The fault line runs from south Whidbey Island, southeast to the Bothell area.

There is a large populated area in between, said Pennington. He also pointed out that the South Whidbey fault is so close to the
surface that even a smaller quake could cause substantial damage. Anything over 6.0 magnitude, and older structures could crumble, he said.

The concerns stem from new data and technology available that can better estimate the fault size. Snohomish County invites residents to review and comment on the recently updated Snohomish County Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan (NHMP) beginning Friday, June 18.

The new plan must be approved before the county receives any federal dollars than can go towards better preparing residents for an earthquake.

For more information on how to prepare in case of an emergency: http://www1.co.snohomish.wa.us/Departments/Emergency_Management/Information/Factsheets/

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