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Massive Quakes Strike Pacific

Another large quake on Vanuatu - A string of four earthquakes struck across the centralPacific today, all within an hour and a half of one another.The first one, with a magnitude of 7.8, hit at 9:03 AM localtime, (3:03PM PDT) beneath the open ocean 180 milesnorth-northwest of Vanuatu. 15 minutes later, a second quakewith a magnitude of 7.7 hit approximately a hundred milessouth-southeast of the first. Then, an hour and ten minutesafter the first quake, a third one hit approximately thirtymiles from the location of the second. On October 8, a 6.8quake struck near Vanuatu.

These were all first-tier earthquakes. A more moderateaftershock with a magnitude of 5.1, struck 25 minutes afterthe third quake.

It is unusual for three high-intensity earthquakes to strikein the same area at virtually the same time, and, comingafter last week's major quakes in Samoa and Indonesia,suggests that there may be a significant subsurfacedisturbance taking place beneath the Pacific. Unfortunately,the ongoing significance of such an event is unknown. Therehave also been microquake swarms in northern California andthe Porto Rico trench in recent weeks, but again, thesignificance of these events, if any, is unknown.

Today's oceanic quakes caused little or no damage and didnot generate tsunamis.

The California swarm is known as the Olancha EarthquakeSequence. It began on October 3 and as of October 7 hadreached a total of 435 earthquakes, the strongest of whichtook place on October 2, and was of magnitude 5.2. The swarmis occurring east of Olancha, California near the DeathValley National Park.

For more information on the Olancha swarm,click here.

For more information about the Pacific quakes,click here.

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