Scientists Worried About Earthquakes near Oregon-Nevada Border

Seismologists are concerned about the sudden, increasing intensity of hundreds of earthquakes shaking the Nevada desert near the Oregon border. 

Ian Madin, chief scientist for Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, said that roughly 750 earthquakes have been causing tremors for months, starting in July with ranges of magnitude from 2.0 to 3.0., but since Tuesday, six earthquakes registering 4.0 or greater have hit the area 50 miles southeast of Lakeview, Oregon. 

Madin said, “This week it has just gone crazy.”  

According to the Los Angeles Times, the area in question is near the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, but the roughly 2,300 residents of Lakeview have been warned to get ready for an earthquake. Alison Ryan, a spokesman for the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, said, “If you are not ready for an earthquake, now is an awfully good time to get ready for an earthquake.” 

John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network at the University of Washington, said the cause of the tremors is the pressure that is being intensified by groundwater percolating along the faults. He added, “It doesn’t necessarily mean anything big is coming, but it does raise the risk there will be a bigger quake in the future. Ninety-nine percent of the time nothing too dramatic happens, but every now and then there is a good pop and everyone asks why we didn’t predict it.”