A massive swarm of earthquakes off the coast of Oregon was just the tip of a horde of tremors felt throughout the United States this week
Are these tremors, felt in every time zone of the United States, just some run-of-the mill earthquakes, or is there something deeper that should be a cause for concern?
Here’s what to know about the earthquakes and what experts are saying about the phenomena.
‘Typical earthquake business’
Earthquakes in a 24-hour span Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 7 and 8, occurred off the coast of Oregon, in California, Idaho, Texas, Kansas and North Carolina, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
These earthquakes peaked in magnitude of 5.8, which happened in the Oregon swarm. All of the states recorded earthquakes of at least 2.5 in magnitude, which is enough to be felt but rarely cause damage.
But despite the flurry of underground activity, there is nothing to fear, says Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the USGS National Earthquake Information Center.
“It’s not unusual at all. This is just earthquake typical business,” Blakeman told McClatchy News.
Earthquakes can happen at any point in most places throughout the country, Blakeman said. It’s merely a coincidence they have occurred in so many various places in a short span.
No injuries have been reported from the recent earthquakes.
What about the Oregon swarm?
At least 50 earthquakes shook off the coast of Oregon, dozens of which were bigger than 3.4 magnitude, USGS reported.
This type of activity, however, isn’t uncommon, McClatchy News reported. It certainly is “eye-catching” though, the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network said.
Many of the earthquakes in the swarm were 250 miles from land, making it difficult to cause much damage inland.
“They are pretty large quakes, but not large enough to cause any damage,” Blakeman said.
The activity is occurring along the Blanco Fracture Zone. Of the 133 earthquakes of 5.0-magnitude that have occurred in this zone since 1980, none have been followed by an earthquake on land, said seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones.
She said the large number of earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or higher is “unusual but not abnormal.”
There is no risk for tsunami risk, as little water has been displaced, according to the National Weather Service.
As to whether the swarm has had or could have any effect elsewhere in the country, don’t count on it.
“It’s very active, but it’s not indicative anything is going to happen anywhere else in the country,” Blakeman said.