On Tuesday morning, a 4.2 earthquake was reported in the vicinity of Grand Coulee Dam, without any damage found so far.
The Grand Coulee Dam is the largest facility providing hydropower in the U.S.. It is located in the northeast of Washington state.The 4.2 earthquake in its vicinity prompted authorities to perform an immediate checking of the facility. However, no damages were reported.
The earthquake was felt in a wider region, but damages weren’t reported anywhere. According to Lynne Brougher with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation which is the U.S. agency running the Grand Coulee Dam, activities were not suspended or disrupted in any manner with the operation of the Columbia River Dam.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Tuesday earthquake was located approximately 25 miles to the north of the Grand Coulee Dam, in the vicinity of Nespelem, Coleville Indian Reservation. The area has been damaged recently by rampaging wildfires.
Statements of the U.S. Geological Survey assured that earthquakes, especially of lower magnitudes such as this one are a common occurrence in Washington state. However, it is the first time in a long while that an earthquake is occurring so close to the dam, for a prolonged period of time.
Although thorough inspections are conducted regularly, such an event requires an emergency inspection to ensure the safety of the facility.
Grand Coulee Dam is a 5 and half stories tall facility, its base measuring 500 feet. The largest hydropower facility in the U.S., the dam spans one mile in length, from Lake Roosevelt to the Columbia River.
Its importance for the region and nationwide is held by the three hydroelectric power plants and the pump-generating plant. Together, these facilities produce an average of 21 billion kilowatt yearly.
The construction of the Grand Coulee Dam was finalized in 1941. Several additions were brought during the 1960s and the 1970s. Now, besides holding the leading position in the U.S. as a hydropower generator, the dam also has function in controlling stream flow for effective flood management, while being a pleasant leisure spot for many visitors.
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