Swarm Of Earthquakes Occur Near Central Oregon Volcanic Complex, 29 Earthquakes In Just 24 Hours

Seismic stations have located an earthquake swarm near La Pine, Oregon. The region has experienced 29 earthquakes in just a 24-hour period with many people pointing out the close proximity of the quakes to area volcanoes. In fact, the recent swarm of earthquakes in central Oregon is located in a volcanic hotbed with numerous volcanic complexes near the area of concern. Though the earthquake swarm is unusual, the Klamath County Emergency Manager is asking people to remain calm as there is currently no cause for concern. The earthquakes, though large in quantity, are not very strong. The strongest of the 29 earthquakes was just 2.5 magnitude earthquake on Thursday.

The Klamath County Emergency Manager claims that the earthquake situation near La Pine, Oregon, is being monitored by scientists and that the Emergency Manager is working in conjunction with the Deschutes County Emergency Management. KTVZ reports that geologists will be adding additional seismometers, seismic activity monitoring units, to the area after a series of unusual earthquakes. The USGS notes that the earthquakes are not being accurately monitored as there are not enough seismometers in the area for accurate readings. Therefore, the USGS will be adding the units this weekend. The group claims that the earthquakes are too small to be felt on the surface, but they are firing off below.

“Depths are probably all in the upper 10 kilometers, although both the depths and locations have substantial imprecision because the seismic network is sparsely stationed in the area.”

Though the earthquakes are not strong, the location of the quakes has some concerned. The earthquakes are taking place in an area rife with volcanoes. In fact, the Davis Volcanic Complex is just a few miles away. As one YouTube user points out, the earthquakes are centering just a few miles away from a relatively recent lava flow.

“This swarm of earthquakes is happening about 3-4 miles away from the nearest volcano, quite literally on the flanks of the lava flows from Davis Volcanic Complex.”

Though volcanoes are located nearby, the Cascades Volcano Observatory says that the earthquake swarm is not a cause of concern and that it is likely the result of “typical” tectonic swarms.

“Cascades Volcano Observatory considers this to be most likely a typical tectonic swarm that will die off in a few days or weeks. Regardless, it is being watched closely.”

Still, others are concerned that the geothermal energy project underway at the Newberry Volcano could be to blame for the uptick in earthquake activity. KTVS says that “AltaRock Energy’s Newberry EGS (enhanced geothermal systems) project began in 2009 on the western flank of the Newberry Volcano. It uses a process called hydroshearing, injecting cold pressurized water to break through solid rock.” However, those running the project claim that they have not done any work in the area for “several months.”

La Pine Oregon
Google Earth image of area around the La Pine, Oregon, earthquake swarm which includes this recent lava flow. (Image via Dutchsinse)

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network claims that the earthquake swarm is probably not the result of the enhanced geothermal system and that it is most likely a “normal” earthquake swarm. Despite the claims by the seismic network and Cascades Volcano Observatory, some claim the earthquakes (along with others occurring along the Pacific coast) could be the result of a magma chamber being displaced below the surface.

One theory suggests that the magma chambers of the Pacific coast volcanoes is being displaced into a nearby adjacent area and that a massive earthquake may result.

“The magma chambers being displaced are a sign of a coming larger earthquake in a nearby adjacent area to the area currently moving.

What do you think about the recent earthquake swarm in central Oregon? Do you think the earthquakes are a sign of a larger mega-earthquake or volcanic eruption to come?

[Image via Youtube/ dutchsinse]

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