Swarm of quakes hit off southern Oregon coast

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5.0 magnitude quake recorded off coast of Gold Beach, Jul y24 2018. (USGS)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a series of earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Oregon on Tuesday morning.

The USGS recorded a 4.3 magnitude quake about 125 miles west of Gold Beach at 5:16 a.m. The quake was 6.2 miles in depth. A 5.2 magnitude and a 5.6 magnitude were also recorded.

No tsunami advisory was issued and there were no reports of injuries or damage.

Experts have said for years that Oregon and the Pacific Northwest are due for a major earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 or higher. 

Dr. Scott Burns, a Portland State University geologist, said the area is where the San Andreas Fault interacts with tectonic places — and swarms like Tuesday’s happen two to four times a year.

“You really have two major plates going in opposite directions and so there’s a lot of tension and stress building up and then it pops,” Dr. Burns said.

Dr. Burns said the good news is these quakes are actually relieving some of that stress.

However, at the same time to the north, tiny swarms of earthquakes keep popping up. While none of them are strong enough to be felt at the surface, cumulatively they’re enough to shift some parts of Washington and Vancouver Island.

Some areas move a few feet over the course of several months, though they typically will then move back. These type of tremors are called “silent earthquakes” because if it weren’t for researchers’ more advance technology, no one would know it was happening.

Even with advanced technology, earthquakes remain the only geological hazards that can’t be predicted ahead of time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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