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The Earth moved for many over this Valentine’s Day, but not due to romance – a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Oregon, due west of Coos Bay, on February 14, 2012. The Valentine’s Day quake is notable not only for its size (it is one of the largest ever to have occurred in the state or off its coast) but also in terms of the complex tectonic setting in which it occurred.

The Valentine quake occurred on an ocean ridge, at a divergent boundary – where new crust is created by upward movement of hot and buoyant rock from the earth’s interior – between two of the large slabs of crust (tectonic plates) which make up the surface of the earth. Preliminary information from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the quake occurred at a depth of 5-6 miles on the fracture zone associated with the Juan de Fuca Ridge, which marks the western boundary of the Juan de Fuca microplate. No Tsunami warnings were issued.

A unique Tsunami like event happens at the change of each tide. When the tide changes from low tide to an incoming high tide, a surge of water comes in all at once. This event is very brief, and depending on the contour of the ocean floor, it can go completely unnoticed. But this was not the case tonight at the Simpson Cove Beach in Shore Acres State Park . Much like the sequence of events during an actual Tsunami, without a warning the waters within the Cove suddenly retreated. Then on the horizon, a 15 to 20 foot wave made its self known. ( you can see the crest of the wave on the left side of the ocean horizon. \

I managed to get this shot as the wave crashes against the outer reef before having to retreat away from the beach front, for you don't know just how high the wave will reach in, and I really didn't want to get wet. These wave, though impressive, they rarely do any sort of damage.

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