UW seismologist isn’t worried about latest trio of earthquakes

Oct 22, 2018, 1:49 PM

KIRO 7 tracks the trio of Vancouver Island earthquakes, earthquake alert...

(KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

A trio of earthquakes measured over 6.5 hit off the coast of Vancouver Island late Sunday, but UW seismologist Mouse Reusch argues that it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

RELATED: Trio of big earthquakes strike off coast of Vancouver island

Mouse Reusch is the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network Regional Coordinator, and told KIRO Radio’s Colleen O’Brien all about what went down Sunday night.

“The larger events were a couple of strike slip earthquake events that happened on the Explorer plate, which is subducting under the North American plate,” said Reusch.

Strike slips are types of faults where two plates slide against each other side-to-side, most commonly associated with the San Andreas fault in California.

Comparatively, the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where seismologists predict the “Big One” would potentially come from, is one plate shoved underneath the North American plate, producing more of an “up and down” motion.

The effect created from a strike slip fault is the reason Los Angeles will eventually shift right next door to San Francisco in about 50 million years, give or take.

So knowing all that, is this latest collection of quakes on the Explorer plate just the first step on the way to the “Big One”? Not likely, says Reusch.

The clustering is interesting, it’s definitely not unusual,” she said. “This has increased the chance of a Cascadia Subduction Zone or a Nisqually earthquake infinitesimally small. It’s basically the same odds yesterday morning as there are right now of the ‘Big One’ happening.”

As for activity on the Cascadia subduction right now, “it’s been pretty quiet,” Reusch assured us.

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UW seismologist isn’t worried about latest trio of earthquakes