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Earthquake swarm off coast of northern Oregon

By Donna
December 8, 2021 8:06 am
Category: Science & Nature

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At least 50 earthquakes have rattled off the Oregon coast in the past 24 hours, geologists said. The earthquake swarm of dozens of earthquakes was reported Tuesday, Dec. 7, into Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The swarm included two 5.8 magnitude earthquakes and dozens more quakes bigger than 3.4 magnitude, USGS reported.


I've been tracking the quakes this morning. Since I've been up, there have been 6 quakes and they've all been between 4.2 and 5.3.

The northwest coast has a history of devastating tsunamis. The last one happened about 9 PM on Jan 26, 1700.

Live USGS earthquake map at top link below.

Cited and related links:


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Comments on "Earthquake swarm off coast of northern Oregon":

  1. by Curt_Anderson on December 8, 2021 3:56 pm
    I wrote to friend of mine who lives in Gold Beach Oregon asking if he felt or noticed anything.

    He replied, "Nothing I've noticed, hope I don't hear those tsunami sirens either...".

  2. by HatetheSwamp on December 8, 2021 4:23 pm

    1700. How old are you?????


  3. by Curt_Anderson on December 8, 2021 4:47 pm
    "The last one happened about 9 PM on Jan 26, 1700."

    How could anybody possibly know the time and date?

    I read someplace that a whale skeleton was found in inland Oregon indicating a tsunami washed them up.

  4. by Donna on December 8, 2021 7:43 pm
    Of course no one felt anything. The quakes are far offshore. The first link shows where every quake hit, and the info in the left column shows the times.

    They know the date and approximate time of the 1/26/1700 tsunami because in addition to Oregon, the tsunami that went in the other direction hit Japan and they recorded when it happened. I'll look for the article where I read that.

  5. by georges on December 8, 2021 7:53 pm
    how far inland? I think another explanation might be needed..

  6. by Curt_Anderson on December 8, 2021 7:58 pm
    That makes sense and answers my question if they felt and recorded it in Japan.

    Magnitude 2.5 to 3 earthquakes are the smallest generally felt by people. So I didn't think it was out of the realm of possibility that my friend might notice some rattling of glasses or something.

    Incidentally, I was in LA soon after the Northridge Earthquake. We were in a bar on Olvera Street when an aftershock rattled the glasses hanging from the ceiling above the bartender. There were some nervous looks.

  7. by Donna on December 11, 2021 12:42 am
    I've felt some pretty strong jolts over the 37 years I've lived in SoCal. Arizona rarely if ever experiences earthquakes.

    I just checked the USGS website and counted 33 quakes of 4.5 magnitude or greater over the past week along that fault off the coast of northern Oregon. Tracking quakes is a sort of hobby of mine. I've seen and read about quake swarms comprised mostly of quakes with magnitudes less than 3.0, but not any like this swarm.

    Seismologists aren't worried about it, though.

    "The Blanco Fault Zone is about 200 miles (322 kilometers) from the Cascadia Subduction Zone. At Cascadia, the Juan de Fuca plate dives under the North American plate. This diving motion is known as subduction, and it can produce large, devastating earthquakes. The up-down motion of the crust at subduction zones can also create dangerous tsunamis.

    But Blanco is a kinder, gentler fault zone. It sits at the spot where the Juan de Fuca plate and the Pacific plate rub against each other. It's a transform fault zone, also known as a strike-slip boundary. As the name suggests, this means the plates slip past each other with very little up-and-down motion. While strike-slip faults (such as the San Andreas Fault) can lead to dangerous quakes, the lack of vertical motion on the fault means the risk of a tsunami from a Blanco quake is low, according to a 2019 blog post from Scientific American."

    Here's why they're almost certain about the date and time of the Cascadia quake of 1700:

    "...We have found several tsunami records in Japan from AD 1700 with no indication of a local cause. Historical earthquake records and palaeoseismic evidence indicate the absence of a large earthquake in 1700 in South America, Alaska or Kamchatka, leaving Cascadia as the most likely source of this tsunami. The estimated time of the earthquake is the evening (about 21:00 local time) of 26 January 1700. The magnitude is estimated as 9 from the tsunami heights, in which case the earthquake ruptured the entire length of the Cascadia subduction zone. These estimates are consistent with Native American legends that an earthquake occurred on a winter night."

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