• Seismologists: Seismic event underway that could increase risk of large earthquake in region

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    A major seismic event is underway, and scientists at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network are saying the Puget Sound could be at a higher risk for earthquakes. 

    The event is called a slow-slip event or episodic tremor and slip, or ETS. ETS brings tiny tremors in the region that could potentially lead to a larger earthquake at the Cascadia subduction zone. 

    Back in July, the area suffered a 4.6 magnitude quake, the largest in the region in some time. It was strong enough for most people to feel but did not cause any damage.  

    Steve Malone, a professor emeritus with PNSN, thinks the first tremor of this ETS cycle began Aug. 11 just south of San Juan Island. 

    "Over this week the tremor has on average gotten stronger and more frequent but is not yet as near-continuous as during some previous ETS events," Malone wrote on the network's blog. "Thus far I have not been convinced that the GPS data is yet showing displacements consistent with a full-blown ETS, but then it is early in the sequence, and I am just a seismologist. If this activity continues as I expect it likely will then it likely will spread a bit farther south but it should mostly head to the northwest."

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    The slow slip event is a semi-regular occurrence happening once every 14 months or so, according to scientific records and notes.

    Small tremors are a good reminder to make sure you and your family are prepared for the next earthquake. Visit this link for KIRO 7's guide on earthquake preparedness

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