Sherwood earthquake a researcher’s dream

PSU Professor Scott Burns, April 7, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
PSU Professor Scott Burns, April 7, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The 3.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Sherwood Sunday night caused no damage but gave researchers plenty of new information.

The epicenter, about five miles northwest of Sherwood, told geologists about a potential new fault line.

It’s below all the sediment from the Missoula Floods, so we found a new fault,” said PSU Professor Scott Burns. “There are a lot of faults we don’t know about because earthquakes and faults have not been a priorty in Oregon.”

Burns said California is ahead of Oregon in earthquake readiness. Experts know where almost every fault line is in California, while in Oregon, state officials only know about the major faults.

“The obvious ones have all been mapped but some of the ones that are hidden by sediments, they haven’t been,” Burns told KOIN 6 News.

Many of the smaller faults are never found until there’s seismic activity, such as the Sherwood earthquake.

Once it’s found, experts want to know how active it is, when the last time a quake hit and what’s the biggest magnitude quake that can happen on that fault line.

But Burns said geologists might not get those answers from this quake.

“Probably not, because it’s a small one, it’s a small earthquake and it’s not a high priorty.”

–KOIN 6 News reporter Brent Weisberg contributed to this report.

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