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Magnitude 6.6 earthquake rattles area off northern Vancouver Island

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Thursday, April 24, 2014, 9:32 PM -

Residents in B.C. are feeling a bit uneasy after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake struck off the northern coast of Vancouver Island Wednesday night.


CHECK BACK: Arda Ocal interviews a chief geologist at Simon University at 1:15 pm ET Thursday


The quake was initially rated a magnitude 6.7, but was later downgraded by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The USGS says the quake hit 94 km south of Port Hardy at a depth of about 11 km.

Glass rattled and buildings swayed, but no damage or injuries were reported and there was no tsunami warning issued. Several aftershocks were reported however, including a magnitude 4.2 and 5.0.

Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham says the quake was strong but very short, everyone remained calm, and there was no damage to infrastructure.

Still, it serves as a reminder for residents to be prepared, especially since earthquakes are common off the B.C. coast.

"This was a good wake up call," said geologist Dr. Brent Ward at the Simon Fraser University. "To remind people that we are in an earthquake hazard zone, and to be prepared, to have a plan, have an earthquake kit together, and make sure they're are ready for when a much larger earthquake occurs."

WHAT HAPPENS IF AN EARTHQUAKE HITS VANCOUVER?

For a city that is always looking over its shoulder for the "Big One," this latest earthquake has likely rattled a few nerves.

According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, the city of Vancouver, the west's largest city, would be even more severely affected than previously thought: The city is built on a combination of sediment and dense rock that could actually intensify the strength of an earthquake.

The researchers say their findings will help modify the city's building code to hopefully lead to more earthquake resistant buildings.


Officials say these kind of events are a good wake-up call and should serve as a reminder to have an earthquake kit and a family plan ready.

"Here on the coast, we're in a situation where the Juan de Fuca Plate is pushing underneath North America. So, it's pushing underneath, but it's actually stuck and so it's continuing to move and it's actually causing the outer coast of Vancouver Island to bow up a bit and eventually that stress that builds up is going to be released and we'll get movement," said Dr. Brent Ward, professor of Earth Sciences at Simon Fraser University in a previous interview. "It will be very similar to what happened in Japan and what happened before in Indonesia. It will trigger a tsunami and we'll have very intense ground shaking over a very large area over the Pacific Northwest and it will probably be an eight point something or even a nine magnitude earthquake."


PREPARING FOR THE 'BIG ONE': Earthquake a good wake-up call


With files from The Canadian Press

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