News & Op-Ed Commentary from The People's Republic of Moscow (Idaho)
Mount Rainier caps swarm of weekend seismicity with 3.6 magnitude quake
3 December 2019 3 December 2019 / Uncategorized
If Mount Rainier were to blow, it would make the Mount Saint Helen’s eruption look like a burp.
After a spurt of seismic activity this weekend, Mount Rainier National Park was shaken by a 3.6 magnitude earthquake Sunday afternoon.
The quake hit at 12:31 p.m. and was felt as far as Kent, nearly 80 miles away, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.The relatively shallow quake was centered roughly a mile beneath the Earth’s surface.
The nearest town is Packwood, population 230, 13 miles northwest of the epicenter.
Since Thanksgiving Day, more than a dozen other smaller quakes have shaken Mount Rainier. The largest, until Sunday’s, was a magnitude 1.0.
The mountain generally sees something in the neighborhood of a quake a week. But seismologists said the weekend tremors weren’t anything out of the ordinary for the earthquake-prone volcano. In other words: No eruption is imminent from the nation’s third-most dangerous volcano.
Regardless, people living near Mount Rainier should prepare for what might happen in the event of an eruption, said Wes Thelen, a research seismologist at the Cascade Volcano Observatory. Specifically, an eruption could cause lahars – large volcanic mudflows – to rip down the side of the mountain.
This quake, though, “does not change the lahar hazard at all,” Thelen said.