If you have to have an earthquake, don’t have a shaky one?have a slow one. That’s what?s happening in the Northwest right now: an earthquake is slowly unleashing energy that measures 6.7 on the Richter scale. But it’s releasing it over weeks rather than seconds, so no one can feel it. The quake, which started Feb. 26 and seems to be finally coming to a halt, stretches from northwest Washington state to southwest British Columbia.

An earthquake has been predicted in that general area for years?will this take care of the situation? Alas, no?”These slow slips aren’t reducing the stress on the locked zone,” says Herb Dragert, of the Geological Survey of Canada. “They’re actually, in little pulses, adding a tiny bit of stress to the locked zone.”

This kind of quake wasn’t detected until global positioning system (GPS) satellites came along, that can measure tiny movements of ground-based stations. Scientists have found that the silent quake signals do show up on seismographs, but they were always overlooked in the past because they don’t look like signals from regular earthquakes.

Maybe it’s time for us all to learn how to read signs and omens.

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