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Quakes off Oregon coast pique scientist's interest

A 4.0 earthquake was recorded about 7:20 Sunday evening 122 miles off the coast at Bandon.

BANDON, Ore. -- A 4.0 earthquake was recorded about 7:20 p.m. Sunday 122 miles off the coast at Bandon.

That quake follows two others in the four days along the Oregon Coast.

On Saturday, there was 2.3 magnitude quake about 14 miles west of Newport.

On Thursday, there was 3.8 quake about 67 miles west of Tillamook.

Evelyn Roeloffs, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey, said the quake that happened off the Bandon coast and the one west of Tillamook were normal, but the quake off the coast of Newport piqued her interest.

That's because it happened along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the 600-mile-long fault off Oregon's coast that could result in a magnitude nine earthquake when it ruptures.

Roeloffs said, while the recent small quake on that fault is in no way a sign of a much bigger one to come, it may be a sign of more smaller ones.

"Maybe it's a little more likely we would have a three or something in the next few days, but after that there's really no influence at all," she said.

She added the recent small quakes did likely relieve a little bit of stress on the Cascadia fault, but not enough to have any significant impact.

While likely a coincidence, the smaller quakes are good reminders that we will one day get a much bigger one.

Scientists say there's about a 15 percent chance the "Big One" will happen in the next 50 years.

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