Short-lived burst of earthquakes occur at Mount Hood, March 1, 2021

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Burst-like swarms commonly interpreted to be caused by movement of hydrothermal fluids (water).

On March 1, 2021 at 12:13 p.m., an ~45-minute-long earthquake swarm occurred ~1 km (0.6 mi) southwest of Mount Hood’s summit at depths of 1-2 km (0.6-1.2 miles) below sea level (about 5-6 km (3-4 mi) below the summit). The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network located eight events so far with a maximum magnitude of M 1.3; dozens of other events were too small to locate. These earthquakes were too small to have been felt at the surface.  

Although not a common occurrence, short-lived swarms have occurred near the summit in the past, including November 2013, September and October of 2014, and May 2016. Burst-like swarms of small earthquakes like this are considered to be a part of Mount Hood’s background seismicity. Such bursts of earthquakes are seen at many volcanoes around the world and in the Cascades, including at Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Lassen Peak (California), and are commonly interpreted to be caused by the movement of hydrothermal fluids (water).  

While the seismicity represents a temporary uptick in activity, Mount Hood remains at normal, background levels.  

Follow the links for Mount Hood monitoring data, information about the volcano's geology, historyhazards and a weekly update about activity at Oregon and Washington volcanoes of the Cascade Range.

March 1, 2021 earthquake swarm at Mount Hood

Earthquakes from the swarm on March 1, 2021 are shown with red circles, while earthquakes from the January 2021 swarm are shown in blue. Earthquakes that have occurred since 2010 are shown as unfilled circles. All circles are sized by their magnitude. Top: Map view of seismicity at Mount Hood (Oregon). Black lines are roads, yellow circles are current seismic stations. The line between A and A' is the cross section depicted below. Bottom: Cross-section of seismicity at Mount Hood. Symbols same as map view. The topography of Mount Hood is shown with the black line near the top of the plot.

(Credit: Weston Thelen. Public domain.)