The QoD: Should Vancouver be concerned over earthquakes?
Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 12:21 -
It's hard not to consider the threat of the "Big One" happening here at home, especially for those on the west coast.
Officials say the province of British Columbia in particular is just as earthquake prone and at risk for a major earthquake to hit in the coming years.
Based on a recent study at the University of British Columbia, the city of Vancouver 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.
The risk can't be overlooked, and experts says it's a good wake up call for Canadians.
"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 following the deadly Pakistan earthquake that struck last year. "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."
Ward adds that if a major earthquake of a magnitude 7 rating or higher were to hit Vancouver, "a death toll probably in the thousands and damage numbers of at least $100 billion" would be expected.
"The actual shaking of the earthquake, it actually doesn't kill people, it's things like the buildings that collapse on to people that causes the damage, or in some cases, landslides triggered by the earthquake that can kill people," Ward said. "So, having building codes that ensure that the buildings will survive the earthquake is vital. Our building code here now is very robust and the buildings that are built today have a very good likelihood of surviving the earthquake."
In the comments section below answer our Question of the Day:
West: based on LA/Chile, you more concerned earthquake will happen here soon? East: does news like this phase you?