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Earthquakes off Oregon Coast no cause for alarm, experts say

More than 10 quakes have happened in the Blanco Fracture Zone more than 250 miles off the coast of Coos Bay.

Posted: Jun 26, 2019 7:25 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A swarm of earthquakes off the Oregon Coast in recent days doesn't mean the Big One is on its way according to experts at the University of Oregon.

Earthquake expert Leland O'Driscoll said more than 10 quakes have happened in the Blanco Fracture Zone more than 250 miles off the coast of Coos Bay. One quake on Saturday night had a magnitude of 5.4.

Earthquakes of that magnitude are common in that area and their effects are often not felt on shore, O'Driscoll said. He also said the tectonic plates in that area move in a way that does not cause tsunamis.

O'Driscoll said the quakes happened outside of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an area where two tectonic plates are building up pressure and could one day cause a massive earthquake.

"You can't really associate these with the Cascadia Subduction Zone per say," O'driscoll said. "But it is a sign of the active tectonics in our region, and that's sort of how the earth works."

Scientists are working to install an early warning system that aims to alert people through text messages. The ShakeAlert System is already active in California and state leaders in Oregon hope to have it up and running here by 2023.

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