Earthquake swarm near Oregon desert intensifies

Seismologists attribute the activity to the earth's stretching crust

A USGS map shows an intensifying swarm of earthquakes in a sparsely populated region in the Nevada desert near Oregon and California. (USGS)
A USGS map shows an intensifying swarm of earthquakes in a sparsely populated region in the Nevada desert near Oregon and California. (USGS)

LAKEVIEW, Ore. (KOIN 6 with files from AP) —  Dozens of earthquakes, ranging in magnitude up to 4.0, have struck within 45 miles of Lakeview, Ore. in the Sierra Nevada desert in the last week.

The activity is part of an earthquake swarm intensifying in the last week, the United States Geological Service (USGS) said Monday.

“A swarm of earthquakes in a sparsely populated area of far northwest Nevada that began on July 12, 2014, has increased in intensity over the past several days,” the USGS said.

Seismologists have attributed the activity in the area roughly 40 miles southeast of Lakeview, and 40 miles northeast of Cedarville, Calif., to the earth’s stretching crust.

The Sierra Nevada is moving northwest at the speed of roughly half an inch per year, Glenn Biasi of Reno’s University of Nevada Seismological Laboratory told the Associated Press.

Read more about the earthquake swarm

According to the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries(DOGAMI), the swarm in northwestern Nevada along Oregon’s border has been ongoing since mid-July and has become much more active in the past two weeks.

Such a sequence of earthquakes does slightly increase the probability that a larger earthquake will occur, according to the DOGAMI. The current swarm resembles a 1968 swarm in Adel, Oregon, which lasted several months and included three earthquakes of approximately magnitude 5.

 

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