Several small earthquakes shook an area east of Mount. St. Helens late Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning.
According to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, the largest quake, a magnitude 3.9, hit east of Spirit Lake near Mount Saint Helens just after 12:30 a.m.
A series of smaller quakes, ranging from magnitude 1.6 to magnitude 2.7 stuck shortly after.
A total of 15 quakes were reported in the area as of 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Wes Thelen, a seismologist for the Cascades Volcano Observatory said the earthquake hit about seven miles northeast of the mountain and about three miles east of Spirit Lake.
Thelen said more than 100 people reported feeling the quake. Some of those reports were from as far away as Portland up to the Puget Sound near Seattle, he said.
While a series of quakes are common around the mountain, the Wednesday episode stands out.
“This was sort of notable because this was a fairly large earthquake. So 3.9 is the largest earthquake we've seen in this particular area. But even right around St. Helens, this is the second largest earthquake we've seen since 1981,” said Thelen.
Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980.
He said there's no cause for concern. In the greater scheme of things, the earthquake was relatively small. There were no reports of damage or injuries.
"The motion we felt was kind of north-south. You could actually feel the direction the motion was moving," said Duane Moore, who had just gotten into bed when he felt and heard the earthquake shake his Battleground, Wash. home.
Later that morning he and his wife Tina woke to a wall of crooked pictures.
Thelen said the quake is normal for tectonic plates in the Pacific Northwest. It is far enough away from the Cascadia Subduction Zone that he said it doesn't have anything to do with the so-called “Big One,” a devastating earthquake that could hit the region at any time.
He said these earthquakes are a good reminder to have an emergency kit just in case a big earthquake hits, or for any other natural disaster for that matter.