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Mar 6 / Dave Schumaker

Episodic Tremor begins in Washington

Researchers and students from the University of Washington will deploy temporary seismometers this week to record and track an episodic tremor that has started beneath the Olympic Mountains. This is the fifth tremor of this type since it was first discovered in 2002 and they have occurred regularly at 14 month intervals.

Slow-slip events, or silent earthquakes, occur at a depth of about 25 miles and can last for several weeks. Though they are unfelt by humans, they can release as much energy as a large earthquake.

Since they were first discovered in the Puget Sound region, such events have occurred regularly about every 14 months. The current slow-slip event was expected to start between mid-February and mid-April, and the first evidence that it had begun turned up on Sunday.

More information is available in this 2004 web page from the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

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