A small earthquake with a magnitude of 3.0 was reported near Carnation on Tuesday morning, one day after a smaller magnitude 2.2 quake was reported in the same location on Monday, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

Tuesday’s quake, about four miles from Carnation, occurred around 6:30 a.m. The two earthquakes near Carnation make three small quakes reported in two days in Washington state. A magnitude 2.9 earthquake was recorded about four miles from Monroe on Monday.

Monday’s quake near Carnation was recorded shortly after noon, the seismic network reported. The Monroe quake was recorded at 2:41 a.m. Monday.

All three quakes have been reviewed by a seismologist, the network said.

The cluster of quakes, however, predict nothing of future tectonic activity or whether the so-called ‘Big One’ is near, said Harold Tobin, a University of Washington professor and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

For one thing, the quakes in Carnation and Monroe may not even be on the same crustal fault, he said.


For another, we live in an area where earthquakes and clusters of earthquakes are normal and occur randomly, though there are times of more and less activity.

Additionally, few significant earthquakes have ever been preceded by foreshocks, Tobin said.


The Puget Sound region is prone to earthquakes because it lies near the edge of the North American tectonic land plate and the Juan de Fuca, an oceanic tectonic plate. The 700-mile boundary, a fault known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone, runs from Northern California to Canada. Scientists say the Juan de Fuca plate is trying to force its way under the North American plate, which they also say is ultimately inevitable. 

Western Washington is also crisscrossed by more than a dozen large, shallow faults — cracks in the Earth’s crust capable of unleashing damaging earthquakes.


More from the series: