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The Big One in Seattle?

Instead of CA? - Seismologists have long been predicted The Big One for California in the future. On January 9 a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck off the coast of northern California. The quake caused only minor damage, but is a sign of increasing instability in the area. However, some seismologists think that gigantic earthquake may shake the ground in Seattle instead.

For most of a decade, scientists have documented unfelt and slow-moving seismic events, called episodic tremor and slip, showing up in regular cycles under the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state and Vancouver Island in British Columbia. They last three weeks on average and release as much energy as a magnitude 6.5 earthquake. Now scientists have discovered more small events and they cycles are occurring more often. This could signal that a big one's on the way. Researcher Kenneth Creager says, "This continues to paint the picture of the possibility that a megathrust earthquake can occur closer to the Puget Sound region than was thought just a few years ago.

"Each one of these slip events puts more stress on the area of the plate boundary where megathrust earthquakes occur, which is shallower and farther to the west, bringing you closer to the next big event. There's nothing to tell you which one will be the trigger."

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