A swarm that has now reached over 3,500 small earthquakesbegan last weekendoff the Oregon coast, but officials insist that they do notpose any tsunami threat, even though part of the affectedocean floor is similar to the area in the Indian Ocean areathat produced the magnitude 9 quake that caused lastDecember’s huge tsunami in southeast Asia. The small quakesoff the Oregon coast range from a magnitude of 2 to 4.

NOAA scientists think the quakes are caused by an underwatervolcano which is about to erupt. A NOAA team plans to divedown to investigate and snap photos of the lava welling upfrom the seafloor, where the Juan de Fuca plate is located.This has been called a “tectonic time bomb,” because it iscapable of producing earthquakes and tsunamis that couldequal the disaster in Indonesia, although scientists don’texpect that to happen as a result of these small quakes.

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