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South Oregon Coast Quake at Magnitude 6.3

Published 08/29/2019 at 5:13 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

South Oregon Coast Quake at Magnitude 6.3

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(Bandon, Oregon) – A much stronger-than-usual earthquake struck off the southern Oregon coast Thursday morning, which did not create a tsunami alert nor any damage, but was felt by hundreds of people. (Graphic courtesy USGS)

The magnitude 6.3 quake happened about 176 miles off the coast, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). It was much shallower than usual at 3.3 miles beneath the ocean floor.

The USGS has documented dozens of reports of people feeling it on land, with reports going well into the central Oregon coast – from Seal Rock, Yachats, Newport and as far north as Lincoln City.

Although a larger quake than usual off the Oregon coast, scientists say this is generally normal for what is known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an area of fault lines and weak spots that is geologically quite active. It is not necessarily a sign that the big one is coming, but it is a reminder that the big one will hit one day.

This quake had more to do with the Blanco Fracture Zone than the larger fault line expected to create the “big one,” according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). There have been clusters of smaller quakes coming out of that area as of late, too small to be noticed except by sensitive equipment. Clusters like this occur fairly frequently in this area, the PNSN said.

Along the whole of the region, about 20 or more quakes and clusters of quakes occur per year.

Measurements of earthquake magnitudes are extremely wide, although the increments may appear small. A 7.0 is 1,000 times bigger than a 4.0, according to the USGS. But it is 31,622 times stronger in its release of energy.

Keep an eye on Oregon coast quakes: Oregon, Coast Earthquake Updates - Live Data Oregon, Washington, California, Tsunamis

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