Larger Earthquake risk increase along West coast

by KOMO News Staff Wednesday, May 22nd 2019

SEATTLE — Scientists are monitoring dozens of tremors along the West coast from Victoria, B.C. through Washington and Oregon.

A small earthquake rattled near Ocean Shores Tuesday morning. The 3.4 magnitude quake didn’t cause any damage.

But it’s a reminder the big one could hit at any time.

“These tremors are indicating that there is an event that’s been going on for about a month,” UW Professor Ken Creager said.

The Cascadia subduction zone runs from northern California up to Vancouver Island.

 The tremors, according to Creager, are a sign of what’s called a “slow slip” seismic event that happens every one to two years.

It’s simply a wave of tiny tremors that are thought to increase stress on locked faults, which are the areas where plates cannot move past each other.

Just this month a slow slip started under the Kitsap Peninsula, moved north to Canada, then traveled south toward Oregon – bringing lots of little tremors along the way.

“Every time we have one of these slow slip events, it adds stress to where the big one is going to happen,” Creager said. “So there is some reason to think that the timing may be such that the big one would happen during one of these slow slip events.”

Experts say this is a good time to go over your earthquake safety plan.

More Earthquakes here