October 21 earthquake marks fifth off Oregon coast this month


Linfield students might not have felt anything unusual on Monday, but a magnitude-4.6 earthquake on Oct. 21 marked the fifth time one has struck off the Oregon Coast since the beginning of October.

The earthquake occurred around 6:47 a.m. about 122 miles outside the coastal town of Bandon, according to U.S. Geological Survey. Bandon is just 24 miles south of the large coastal city of Coos Bay.

Another earthquake with a magnitude-4.8 shook on Thursday, Oct. 17, about 94 miles outside of Port Orford, Oregon. 

The U.S. Geological Survey reported three other earthquakes since Oct. 2 under lower than a magnitude-4.0, though they shook further from the coast than the most recent shakes. 

These are not part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, said Linfield emergency preparedness Officer Doug Cummings who has discussed the topic with geology experts. However, Cummins still urges students to be prepared nonetheless. 

Coincidently, Linfield students received alerts on Thursday, Oct. 17, that urged participation in the Great ShakeOut, which is a nationwide event that offers the opportunity for individuals to practice how to be safe during an earthquake.

Some students may have participated in the Great Shakeout if prompted by their professors during class, but likely many chose not to interrupt their day to “Drop, Cover, and Hold On!” 

But would Linfield students know what to do if an earthquake hit close enough to McMinnville?

“It is recommended that everyone, including students, be prepared to be on their own for up to two week,” Cummins advised. “It is possible that no one whould be able to get out of McMinnville for awhile as there are bridges that lead into town no matter which way you enter.”

If an earthquake were to hit near McMinnville, Linfield is one of four educational institutions in Oregon that are involved in the ShakeAlert testing.

“In the future, when an earthquake meets a certain threshold, all of the electronic locks on campus will unlock allowing rescuers into buildings to search for and rescue any people inside,” Cummins said. “This would allow people to take measures to protect themselves.”

Last year, Red Cross speaker Steven Eberlein warned Linfield students of the small disasters that will occur in McMinnville when the magnitude-9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake hits. Linfield College Public Safety’s subpage also offers a variety of disaster preparedness brochures available to students. 

Linfield’s campus is filled with beautiful, old buildings, but Cummins said their earthquake resilience is unknown.