'Swarm' of quakes in Bremerton area could stem from Seattle Fault

A swarm of small earthquakes occurring Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning gently rattled the Bremerton area.

A 3.3 magnitude quake struck at 12:20 p.m. Wednesday 16 miles deep beneath the seafloor just east of Manette, according to Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Smaller aftershocks continued through Thursday morning. About 20 tremors were recorded in an area between Enetai, Manchester and the south end of Bainbridge Island.

No injuries or property damage was reported, according to the Kitsap Department of Emergency Management. 

Bill Steele with the Seismic Network said based on the characteristics of the earthquakes, it is possible the swarm was created by breaking along the Seattle Fault, which runs beneath central Puget Sound. The depth of the epicenters makes it hard to draw firm conclusions.

“We just don’t know at that depth,” Steele said. “We wouldn’t rule it out.”

Scientists believe the Seattle Fault is capable of generating earthquakes that would be far more damaging to the Puget Sound metropolitan area than the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Washington coast.

Steele said a series of small tremors slightly increases the chance of a more powerful event occurring in the following days.

"There’s some probability it will keep cracking and form a bigger earthquake," he said. "But that probability is very small."

Steele said swarms of seismic activity are recorded in central Puget Sound every couple of years and are a good reminder for residents to stay prepared for the potential of "the Big One."

"It is a reminder that we live in earthquake country and we’ve been ignoring those emergency supplies for a couple of years," he said.

You can read more about the Seattle Fault here and find preparedness tips on the Kitsap Sun's earthquake page.

© 2017 KING-TV


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