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Thursday, February 28, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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It's our fault: Meet the Earth detectives

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The mission they have chosen to accept: to explain what most everyone is begging to know — why do earthquakes happen in the Seattle area, and how hard and how often can we expect them? These geologists are essentially Earth detectives, and last year's Nisqually earthquake revealed a smattering of freshly strewn clues for the inquisitive. Minutes after the quake, many of these investigators donned rubber boots and made their way to the area's beaches and lowlands to pursue those clues.

On a daily basis, these sleuths can be found in the field scribbling in notebooks or in the office hacking away at calculations in an attempt to alert the public to areas most prone to shaking.

Here is a look at some of the people behind the science (see inset box) who contributed to the detective story being told at the Burke Museum. The hands-on exhibit "The Big One: Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest" starts today on this one-year anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake.

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