Wednesday, March 05, 2008

‘Slow Earthquake' Vibrating Region

By Christopher Dunagan

A very slow earthquake, which could continue for weeks, is under way in Western Washington.
To measure the quake, which probably started Sunday, University of Washington seismologists are rushing to install 100 seismographs in a region near southern Hood Canal and in the Olympic Mountains.
"We're all very excited because it's something we don't understand very well," said John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. "We're bringing out new instruments and have a whole community of seismologists interested in this event."
The slow earthquake, called an episodic tremor-and-slip event, could release as much energy as a magnitude 7 earthquake, Vidale said. But nobody can feel it, because the energy is released over weeks rather than all at once.

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