State geologists are on high alert as they monitor and catalog the seismic activity near Mt. Hood that rattled the nerves of some residents. Starting Sunday evening the tremors have been rumbling directly beneath Government Camp.
Local resident Rachael Fisher felt some unusual shaking and was available for comment. “Yeah I did think I felt something up at the Palmer Lodge just up the road… yeah I think I may have felt something,” she explained.
Geologists have recorded 31 tremors since Sunday. The largest one was only a magnitude 2.3, which barely registers as noticeable. It’s not the magnitude of the quakes that interests scientists, it’s the location. They look like they may be in close proximity to a recently discovered faultline.
“The fact that the earthquakes are defining a fault means that that fault is active and if it can make a magnitude 2.3 it can probably make a much larger earthquake,” explained Ian Madin Chief Scientist with the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
Madin has been tracking this swarm since it began and unlike past seismic swarms on Mount Hood, he said this one is likely not tied to any volcanic activity. Dr. Madin does not think the quakes pave the way for future eruptions.
Ultimately, the Seismic Swarm will lead geologists to monitor the fault with some heavy scrutiny.