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Series of small quakes rattle area east of Mount St. Helens

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 3, 2018, 11:59 a.m.

The panoramic view of the south rim of Mount St. Helens, looking toward Spirit Lake and Mount Rainier, is inspiring. The power of nature is evident from the first steps you take from the paved and well-marked trailhead, which is along Spirit Lake Memorial Highway just as it enters the canyon of South Coldwater Creek. (Dean J. Koepfler / McClatchy-Tribune)
The panoramic view of the south rim of Mount St. Helens, looking toward Spirit Lake and Mount Rainier, is inspiring. The power of nature is evident from the first steps you take from the paved and well-marked trailhead, which is along Spirit Lake Memorial Highway just as it enters the canyon of South Coldwater Creek. (Dean J. Koepfler / McClatchy-Tribune)

SEATTLE – A series of small earthquakes has rattled an area northeast of Mount St. Helens in southwest Washington.

The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network says a 3.9 magnitude quake hit around 12:38 a.m. Wednesday. Dozens of people throughout the region reported feeling it.

It was followed minutes later by a 2.7 magnitude temblor. Dozens of smaller aftershocks have been hitting since then.

Seismic network director Bill Steele says it’s fairly typical to see earthquake swarms in this area though somewhat unusual to have one with a 3.9 magnitude.

Steele said Wednesday morning that a larger quake could follow within 48 hours but there’s still a small probability of that happening.

He says even though the quakes have been located near Mount St. Helens, it’s not caused by the magma underneath the volcano.