- Aug 10, 2004
Beach front properties in Nevada anyone?SEATTLE - A swarm of undersea earthquakes off the Pacific Northwest coast has scientists from the University of Washington scrambling in hopes of glimpsing of two tectonic plates pulling apart.
The 209-foot RV Thomas G. Thompson, a research ship from the university, headed for the Endeavor Hot Vents over the weekend after seismic equipment had detected nearly 3,800 small quakes as of late Thursday.
Among those on the ship are scientists from Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Robert P. Dziak, an oceanographer at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore.
"These earthquake swarms are associated with sea floor spreading," Dziak said.
"The speculation is it might be a volcanic eruption or a magma event on the ridge," Garry Rogers, a seismologist with the Geological Survey of Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, said Sunday.
"Thousands of earthquakes occurring over a few days, it's a tremendous amount of energy, but it's way offshore," Rogers said. "They are too far to be felt, so as far as we know there is no threat."
The swarm included a 4.1 magnitude quake at 5:01 a.m. Sunday, "just to remind us it's a very active earthquake area," he said.