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2 earthquakes strike near Mount Hood Tuesday afternoon

Two earthquakes, magnitudes 2.6 and 3.0, struck near Mount Hood Tuesday afternoon. They happened within roughly a mile of the mountain, very close together.

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. — Two earthquakes struck about a mile southwest of Mount Hood on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN).

The first, a magnitude 3.0 earthquake, was detected at 2:35 p.m. about 46 miles east-southeast of Portland. The quake had a depth of about 0.82 miles.

The second, a magnitude 2.6 earthquake, happened at 2:36 p.m., also about 46 miles east-southeast of Portland. This quake had a depth of about 1.88 miles.

Both of Tuesday afternoon's quake happened within miles of each other, according to the PNSN map that charts the latest earthquakes. 

"Really not that unusual if you think about it and keep in mind that we live in a very seismically active region of the world," said KGW meteorologist Matt Zaffino. "But no sign that this is a sign of anything bigger to come."

Some KGW viewers sent in notice that they'd felt the earthquakes. PNSN is currently collecting reports from people who might've felt at least one of the quakes.

One social media user commented under a post about the earthquake from the PNSN Twitter account, asking if the earthquake could be the result of seasonal meltwater recharge.

PNSN responded to the user, stating "There have been a number of magnitude 3 earthquakes in the area historically, and there is no clear bias towards them happening in spring (when seasonal meltwater is highest). We don't know for sure, but think it's unlikely."

KGW spoke to the Network Manager of the PNSN at the University of Washington, Senior Research Scientist Renate Hartog, regarding the activity and pattern of recent earthquakes.

"It's not super normal that we have these magnitude 3.0 or bigger. But we had one almost exactly two years ago in June of 2021 at a 3.9 magnitude a little bit farther south and a little bit farther east," Hartog said. "We had another earthquake several decades ago in 2002, about 20 years ago, with a 4.5 magnitude — a little bit of a different location than the one from today. Not completely unusual at Mount Hood to get some earthquakes."

As for the cause behind the earthquakes, Hartog said it could be a number of reasons but it's hard to pinpoint the exact cause.

"Mount Hood is located on top of what we call a fault system. Some of the seismicity there probably has something to do with the faults moving a little bit. We don't necessarily know exactly what causes these earthquakes," said Hartog. 

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