Small to Moderate Earthquakes Hit Region; "Big One" on the Way

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, December 3 2012 at 6:17 PM, Updated: Mon, December 3 2012 at 10:14 PM

***Update: According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Anchorage, Alaska was hit by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake Monday evening.***

Let's be honest, normally you don't wake up worrying about a big earthquake hitting your home.

"I'm not too scared of anything happening," said Kelly Mcbee from Shady Cove.

Others said they're a bit nervous.

"It's a little nerve-wracking," began Medford resident Michael Ross.

"It seems like ultimately it could happen," he said.

Recently the west coast has felt some shaking.

A 4.2 magnitude quake off the Oregon-California coast and a 6.3 magnitude quake in British Columbia...both of them in November.

The most recent quake was a small magnitude 3.3. It hit near brookings last week.

Earthquake expert Eric Dittmer, who is an Environmental Studies Professor Emeritus at Southern Oregon University said smaller quakes are actually good. According to Dittmer, small quakes help to relieve pressure between continental and oceanic plates. If they did not happen, the likelihood of a large scale seismic event happening would be greater.

Dittmer said while all these recent quakes don't necessarily indicate any imminent danger, residents in Northern California all the way up to Southern Canada should still be bracing for the big one.

"Those kinds of quakes seem to happen every 250-350 years," said Dittmer.

The last big earthquake in our area happened back on January 27, 1700.

"We're obviously in the window now," he said.

According to Dittmer, since we're in that window, it's never been more important to be prepared.

"Think of the Japan earthquake of early last year. Be prepared for weeks of no electricity...no running water"

To be prepared experts recommend stocking up on food, emergency supplies, blankets, flashlights as well as batteries and water.

And don't forget to talk to the people closest to you.

"Most of the rescues in a large event are performed by your neighbors or your coworkers," said Dittmer.

Experts, stressing that while we cannot predict the day or time a big quake may hit, we can at least be prepared.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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