Dozens of Earthquakes Strike Off Oregon Coast, but Experts Say Not to Worry

× Dozens of Earthquakes Strike Off Oregon Coast, but Experts Say Not to Worry

(CNN) — More than 30 earthquakes, including a magnitude 5.9, have struck off the Oregon coast, according to a local USGS station.

The activity was centered at North Lincoln Island, a location about 50 miles south of Newport, Oregon, reported the USGS NW Oregon Earthquake Coordination Center.

The Earth’s plates near the Japanese island of Honshu have been creeping eastward over the last few hundred million years, said Ryan Jordan, a geophysicist with the USGS. “We are starting to see the effects of that movement,” he said.

Jordan said it was “unusual for this type of activity to occur” in Lincoln Island’s center. He said the best reason to think the activity is related to our plate is that the earthquake occurred in an area that straddles the Jet Stream — a long stream of warm, moist air that generally travels west to east — and has basically “waited on the coast until there was enough energy sitting on the Pacific crust.”

It’s not unprecedented for earthquakes to occur at Lincoln Island, he said. “In fact, we’ve had a lot of quakes at that location,” Jordan said.

The quakes have been felt in nearby communities and by the fire department, said Newport Fire Chief Greg Wiley. “We are just monitoring it right now,” he said.

Eileen Bayne, a spokeswoman for the fire department, said, “At first we just heard it like they just hit the ground, but now that we hear that it went over 5.9, that’s concerning.”

The earthquakes struck Monday and Tuesday, although the quakes weren’t felt much Monday, according to the USGS report.

While Jordan said the earthquakes aren’t a cause for worry, he said it was important for the public to understand that the move of the plates is happening in an area of the Northwest where seismic activity is common.

“We can say with some confidence that having moderate to large earthquakes is a pretty normal occurrence for a region of the country like the Northwest,” he said.

CNN affiliate KATU reported that three people have been injured by falling debris, and up to three minor injuries have been reported. A teacher was struck on her chest by a falling rock, and a surfboard struck a woman in the neck.

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