Mt. Hood Quake Swarm Leaves Us Wondering

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It’s one of the things I love most about our Northwest Volcanoes: you never know when they’re going to do something mysterious!

This time it’s another swarm of tiny earthquakes. You can see at least 23 of them in this image from Saturday February 25, 2012.

They are happening between Timberline Lodge and the White River Glacier. But why? What do they mean? I asked award winning Portland State Geologist Scott Burns that question:

“You have two hypotheses – movement along a fault on the mountain (and there are lots of faults up there) or movement of magma to the surface. Anytime they are small and a swarm, there is a strong possibility that it is magma moving.”

Kind of weird to think about hot magma moving underneath the cold, snowy mountain you’re skiing and snowboarding on, isn’t it?

All two dozen micro-quakes on Mt. Hood have been less than magnitude 2. Now let’s see how many of these earthquakes we have before the mountain goes silent again!

 

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