Small quake hits Whidbey Island

A 3.7 magnitude earthquake struck Whidbey Island, two miles southeast of Coupeville, at 5:09 a.m. Wednesday. The tectonic slip occurred 36 miles below the earth’s surface, according to the University of Washington Department of Earth and Space Sciences.

On the United States Geological Survey Web site, 16 Coupeville residents and 30 Oak Harbor residents reported the quake.

“It certainly woke me up,” said Oak Harbor Police Chief Rick Wallace. But aside from the quake’s gentle morning wake-up jolt, the police station did not received any calls about damage as a result of the earthquake, Wallace said.

Neither the Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue nor the Island County Sheriff’s Department received any immediate calls about earthquake damage.

Bill Steele, seismology lab coordinator at the UW, said the earthquake took place in the “slab or rock” called the San de Fuca plate, which is subducting under the North American plate.

Steele said the earthquake, classified as deep, doesn’t change the likelihood of a big temblor in the area.

“But it’s a good time to look at family plans and make sure we’re all up to date,” he said, adding that he just changed the jugs of water his family keeps for emergencies.

Dave Chesson, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said crews checked the integrity of Deception Pass bridge and several other bridges in the Puget Sound region following the earthquake. He said the bridges are all fine and crews didn’t expect to find anything because the earthquake was so minor.

“It’s good practice,” he said.

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