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3.1 quake rocks snowy Whidbey

On top of heavy snowfall, slick roads and high winds, North Whidbey was hit by a magnitude 3.1 earthquake yesterday.

According to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network's website, the quake occurred at 3:56 p.m. in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, about 7 miles northwest of Coupeville and about 8 miles southwest of Oak Harbor. It was reported by 228 Whidbey Island residents and was felt by people 115 miles away in Marblemount.

Mike Simmons, a staffer at the Island County Department of Emergency Management, said this is actually the 16th small quake to hit Whidbey in 2010. All but four have occurred north of Coupeville, he said.

Despite their frequency, most have gone completely unnoticed due to their size. Of the 16 quakes, only four have measured magnitudes above 2.0 and yesterday's was the only one to measure above 3.0.

It also differed from previous quakes this year because it occurred at a much shallower depth, about 5.7 miles down. Most are at least 12 miles in depth, Simmons said.

As of Tuesday morning, Simmons said his office has received no reports of damage.

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