▶️ Mini earthquakes near Newberry Volcano noteworthy, but not threatening

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Lava; it’s a facet of the Central Oregon community few things surpass in age and fascination.

That molten magma is on the move again – this time at Newberry Volcano.

From March 24th to April 3rd, seismologists discovered a handful of miniscule earthquakes occurring in Newberry’s caldera.

The area, known for its unique geology that comes with a volcano active for 400,000 years, is now adding quakes to it’s characteristics.

“Newberry typically has earthquakes as a part of as what we call ‘regular background activity,’” said Seth Moran, a Research Seismologist at the United States Geologic Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory.

But these quakes in late March are something out of the ordinary due to their frequency.

“Most of them are too small to even be located,” Moran said.

The largest quake was a 1.7 magnitude, occurring early morning on March 24th.

Besides the 29 located earthquakes on the Eastern side of Paulina Lake, hundreds of other tiny tremors occurred in unknown areas of the Newberry site, which spans almost 1200 square miles.

“Right now, we’re not seeing any deformation,” Moran said, “There’s no deformation and that combined with the pretty small size of the earthquakes has us thinking that this is just par for the course for Newberry but we are definitely watching.”

The quakes aren’t the only thing going on below Newberry, as the land, used for several experiments throughout the years, has plenty of hot materials shifting under shallow ground.

“And so in that context what we’re seeing now is probably just a situation where there’s a little more fluid that’s circulating,” Moran said.

The USGS has 8 stations studying Newberry since 2012.

Though this series of earthquakes is the most in a while for the volcano, Newberry is known for being the most active in our very lively Cascade Mountain Range.

“So if there were to be any new magma coming in that was causing these earthquakes we would also expect to see some changing of the surface, some ground deformation,” Moran said ‘Either the ground moving away from the Caldera or moving upwards and what not and we’ve seen things like that at Three Sisters.”

Newberry Volcano is still declared a green zone, with no threat to the public. 

For reference, the last time the volcano erupted was 1300 years ago, which created the obsidian flow so many visit every year.

 

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