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Big quake and tsunami fears rattle temblor-prone Alaskans

This March 16, 2011, file photo shows a tsunami evacuation sign in Cannon Beach.

COOS COUNTY — A 3.6 earthquake hit the Southern Oregon Coast early Thursday morning, April 26.

Many Coos County residents woke up to a report from the Oregon Emergency Response System on their phone notifying them of the minor quake, which was just 90 miles from Coos Bay. The quake happened at 1:44 a.m.

“It’s probably not a foreshock, but you never know,” said Coos County Emergency Manager Mike Murphy. “Normally no one sends anything out for a quake this small because we have them all the time. It happened on the Juan de Fuca Plate.”

Only quakes 50 to 40 miles off the coast are considered on the Cascadia subduction zone.

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“If it was a magnitude 6, we would have felt it,” Murphy said. “It has to be a minimum of 6.5 to generate a tsunami. Anything less than that we don’t have to worry about it.”

Murphy explained that these kinds of minor earthquakes along the coast happen a few times a year, if not a couple times a month.

The OERS report did instruct anyone who saw damages from the earthquake to report them to Murphy at mmurphy@co.coos.or.us.

“This isn’t a precursor, but nature is saying 'hey folks, I’m out here waiting still,’” Murphy said. “People need to be aware that Cascadia is coming. We’re waiting for the big one, so this is a good reminder for people to be aware.”

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Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.

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