Earthquake, News, OREGON

Earthquake rattles Willamette Valley

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck Oregon Friday morning at 5:52, centered on a location 16 kilometers east southeast of the unincorporated community of Lacomb in Linn County, according to initial reports from the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

A map from the federal agency shows that the earthquake could be measured as far north as southwest Washington. 

While it’s unlikely the quake caused significant damage, it’s a reminder that the Pacific Northwest is prone to earthquakes, and in western Washington County, two major earthquake scenarios loom.

The most well known, of course, is The Big One, a massive earthquake that experts say has about a one in three chance of occurring in the next 50 years when the Cascadia Subduction Zone next ruptures along the coast. That scenario could cause an earthquake of 8.0 to 9.0 magnitude or larger. Such an event would have devastating results for northwest Oregon and neighboring regions, with mass infrastructure collapse and a possible Pacific Ocean tsunami.

And locally, a fault running along the east flank of the Coast Range called the Gales Creek fault zone is capable of causing around a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

More information on preparing for an earthquake can be found online.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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