Nearly 250 miles west of Newport, Oregon, a place called the Blanco Fracture Zone has produced more than 60 earthquakes in 36 hours.
“About 20 of them, oh, we just had another one just now, about 21 of them are over magnitude 4.7,” said Chris Goldfinger of Oregon State University.
Goldfinger said offshore swarms of earthquakes happen around once a year.
“They’re called strike slip earthquakes where the two blocks move side by side, so because there’s not a lot of vertical motion, they don’t generate tsunamis,” he said.
Harold Tobin leads the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington.
He points out the Blanco Fracture Zone is a long way from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which is what we worry about for a major quake around Seattle.
“Our best science says that there’s no way that stress is transferred over, as some people have speculated, to the big one,” Tobin said.
Still, any seismic event is a reminder that we live in earthquake country and should be prepared.
“We always have the risk of a substantial earthquake that is damaging but I don’t think that risk is different in the Pacific Northwest today than it was two days ago,” Tobin said.
Emergency managers now ask people to be “two weeks ready,” which means having enough supplies to be on your own for two weeks.
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