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Small Quake 100 Miles Off Oregon Coast Felt by Some On Land

Published 11/24/2017 at 5:25 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Small Quake 100 Miles Off Oregon Coast Felt by Some On Land

(Oregon Coast) – A small earthquake struck Friday morning just off the Oregon coast, about 100 miles from Coos Bay. The U.S. Geological Service said it received about five reports of the magnitude 4.7 quake being felt on land. The event occurred at 9:36 a.m. and was about 6.21 miles deep. (Graphic courtesy USGS).

No tsunami warning was issued.

At 4.7 the quake is still quite minor, but considerably more than many of the 2.5 to 3.0 quakes that normally happen off the coast. It's also closer to land than most, and somewhat rare for them to be felt by the public.

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Quakes of that magnitude can cause property damage, however. In this case it did not.

Quakes in this area are a normal part of geologic action on the sea floor off the Oregon coast. It's all part of a network of faults called the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600-mile long stretch that will one day bring a much larger quake and tsunami to the area. This is an area where two plates of the Earth's crust meet and grind against each other: one carrying the continental U.S. and the other beneath the Pacific Ocean.

This one happened where the Juan de Fuca Plate meets another faultline, the Gorda Ridge.

Oregon State University marine geologist Chris Goldfinger recently talked about new theories of these stretches of underwater coastline, saying some areas are releasing pressure more than others.

Goldfinger said a section of the faultline around Lincoln City and Pacific City is more prone to moving slightly and thus releasing of pressure at a greater rate. A larger chunk runs from Astoria to near Oceanside which doesn't budge very often.

The result is that the stretch near Lincoln City won't shake as badly as the area up north, which is also closer to Portland. The “Big One,” as it's called, will be worse for those areas that are stuck.

Also see Oregon, Coast Earthquake Updates - Live Data Oregon, Washington, California, Tsunamis for constantly updated information. - Maps - Virtual Tours

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