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A series of earthquakes off the Oregon coast were recorded Saturday by the US Geologic Survey, with the strongest registering at 5.4 about 10 kilometers deep.
The geologic record suggests that the fault has produced catastrophic quakes of magnitude 8.0 to 9.0, along with destructive tsunamis, at least every 500 years or so. The last major quake rumbled up the coast in 1700, with an estimated magnitude of 8.7 to 9.2.
Because the population of the Pacific Northwest is rapidly increasing, the Cascade volcanoes are some of the most dangerous, due to their eruptive history and potential for future eruptions, and because they are underlain by weak, hydrothermally altered volcanic rocks that are susceptible to failure. Consequently, Mount Rainier is one of the Decade Volcanoes identified by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI) as being worthy of particular study, due to the danger it poses to Seattle and Tacoma. Many large, long-runout landslides originating on Cascade volcanoes have engulfed valleys tens of kilometers from their sources, and some of the areas affected now support large populations.
Axial Seamount received significant scientific attention following the seismic detection of a submarine eruption at the volcano in January 1998, the first time a submarine eruption had been detected and followed in situ. Subsequent cruises and analysis showed that the volcano had generated lava flows up to 13 m (43 ft) thick, and the total eruptive volume was found to be 18,000–76,000 km3 (4,300–18,200 cu mi). Axial Seamount erupted again in April 2011, producing a mile-wide lava flow. There was another eruption in 2015.