Dec. 8 (UPI) — Dozens of earthquakes rattled off the coast of Oregon over the past 24 hours — some reaching 5.8-magnitude — but none caused major damage or tsunamis.
About 60 temblors shook in the Blanco Transform Fault Zone about 200 miles off the shore, U.S. Geological Survey data indicates. The quakes were centered roughly due west of Newport, beginning Tuesday morning and occurring into Wednesday, The Oregonian reported.
At least eight of the earthquakes were 5.5-magnitude or higher, the strength that would typically cause damage if closer to land.
Scientists, though, said the earthquakes weren’t the harbinger of a predicted cataclysmic quake predicted to happen between the Juan de Fuca and North American plates — a boundary called the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Officials estimate there’s a 37% chance of a 7.1-magnitude quake happening at that boundary in the next 50 years.
Eric J. Fielding, a geophysicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told NPR that this week’s earthquakes aren’t related to that prediction.
“The Blanco Fracture Zone is not connected directly to the subduction zone so it won’t affect the big fault under land (Cascadia mega thrust),” he said.
Seismologist Lucy Jones said such earthquakes are “very common” in the Blanco zone and are never followed by quakes on land.