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Swarm of 1,000s of small quakes continues SE of Lakeview


There have now been more than 5,800 small to moderate earthquakes in an area of northwest Nevada and southeast of Lakeview in the past 14 months — a swarm that’s picked up pace in recent days. And they might be only one-tenth of what’s actually rumbled below the Earth’s surface, Oregon’s state geologist said Tuesday.

The tally for the ongoing swarm is 5,837 quakes since July 12 of last year, including 218 quakes with a magnitude of 3 or greater and 21 that were magnitude 4.0 or higher, said Interim State Geologist Ian Madin of the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI).

“The swarm continues and has picked up in the last few days,” Madin told NewsChannel 21 by e-mail, noting “I was just commenting on it to my colleagues yesterday.”

Indeed, a check of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network finds several in recent days at magnitude 3 or higher, at depths of 4-7 miles.

There have been seven events over that 14-month time frame of magnitude 4.5 to 4.7, the biggest shake recorded, Madin said.

“The seismologists estimate that the total number of events, including those too small to be located by the sparse instrumentation in the area, is 50,000,” Madin wrote, adding: “Still no idea what is going on.”

Last fall, officials said the quake swarm resembled one in 1968 swarm in Adel, Oregon, in southeast Lake County, which lasted several months and included three earthquakes of about magnitude 5.

It also brought to mind a long-running swarm of quakes that occurred near Maupin several years ago.

Madin said the Maupin swam had been quiet since early 2012. He said quake swarms are somewhat variable — some “culminate in larger events, some fizzle, some drag on for years.”

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