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Hanford Geology


The area that we refer to as Washington State is a very active geological region. Living in Washington, we experience powerful geological forces that have shaped this land for over hundreds of millions of years. Located on the edge of the continent, it is home to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the ever growing mountains. The geological history of Washington State is the story of the breakup of ancient continents, the creation and destruction of ocean basins, the rising of mountain ranges, floods of molten lava and giant glaciers. The geological history of Washington is immense, complicated and a billion years old. Most of the current region was formed 200 million years ago as the North American Plate drifted with the rupturing of Pangaea.

When students look at Washington’s geology they will learn not only about the state’s scenic beauty, but also its violent earthquakes and volcanoes. Learning about Washington’s geology is not just the study of its billion year old history, but its present and future as well.


Northwest Origins: An Introduction to the Geologic History of Washington State at the The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. It is divided into three sections:

I. A Geological Primer---Homework questions

II. Washington's Earliest History---Homework questions

III. Building the Northwest---Homework questions

Hanford's current situation ---Homework questions


Have students write about why they are/are not concerned about an earthquake hitting Hanford or Washington. Have them site information the learned in the Burke reading material and in the other article. 


Download script for presentation of "Overview of Washington Geological History."


Read about Washington Geology on WANMEC

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