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World in panic over claim earthquake that could kill thousands 'about to hit Washington'

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World in panic over claim earthquake that could kill thousands 'about to hit Washington'

Who's right? Conflicting views reported on the risk SUPERSTATION95.COM•K5

CLAIMS a tsunami and volcano-inducing earthquake could soon strike the west coast of North America in a seismic hotspot have spread panic online.

By Jon Austin 17:54, Tue, Jan 19, 2016 | UPDATED: 18:27, Tue, Jan 19, 2016

The fears went viral after being reported on a local site GETTY

Scientists moved to allay fears after an article reported a quake could send tsunami waves crashing over the coast of Washington and Oregon, and even trigger the eruption of volcano Mount Hood.

Locals fear it could be on the cards following a "seismic shift". reported a reading from an ocean data buoy showed the water level fell sharply, "signaling a land sink - the type of event often followed by a severe earthquake."

Details of the seismic scare emerged today as also revealed how TWO large volcanoes erupted, causing 1,200 people to flee their homes in Indonesia and flights to be cancelled in Russia

Its report, said of the land drop: "This means a tectonic plate in the Ocean named the "Juan de Fuca Plate" has made a sudden, eastward movement and slipped beneath another tectonic plate named the "North American Plate.

"This type of event is usually followed by a massive upward movement of the North American Plate causing a very severe earthquake."

Washington has suffered quakes before and is due for one in the next 50 years GETTY

It said there had been an earthquake measuring nine on the Richter scale there in 1700, adding: "If such a thing were to happen today, thousands of people would be killed as a wall of water came ashore well inland passing Interstate 5 and destroying everything in its path from the beach to Interstate 5.

"This type of Tectonic Movement has a direct effect upon the volcanos in the Cascadia Volcanic Chain, in particular, Mount Hood."

The report was circulated widely on Facebook and other social media, sparking online panic.

But, John Vidale, a seismologist and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, dismissed any claim an earthquake was on its way.

He said: "The claim that the water level changed isn't right. It was clearly misinformation that was presented as news."

He said any drop could have been triggered by a small wave or instrument malfunction.

The 1994 Californian earthquake devastated the region GETTY

Just like seismometers, what you see on one instrument is hugely considered unreliable and no other instrument showed anything, and the people watching these instruments immediately flagged it to ignore because it's so unlikely to be real.

Seismologist John Vidale

Chris Goldfinger, director at Active Tectonics and Seafloor Mapping Laboratory and a professor at Oregon State University, confirmed there had been a reading from the buoy, but said it was not that unusual.

He said: "This interesting excursion in the water height at DART buoy 46404 is not a tsunami.

"The buoy is on the Juan De Fuca Ridge flank, not in the subduction zone, so I'd guess this might be a magma chamber deflation event."

The ocean data buoy in question is located west of Astoria, near the Juan De Fuca Ridge.

Despite moves to allay fears of am imminent quake, scientists readily accept the area could be prone to sudden earthquakes.

In fact, research shows there is a one in three chance that a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake stronger than a magnitude eight will strike in the next 50 years.

So much so, an early warning system should be in place within the next two years.

Currently people would just get 20 seconds warning.

Despite the debunkers,, stood by its report and said it had based it on Government data.

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Accessed at on January 20, 2016.

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