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B.C. rocked by several quakes off Vancouver Island coast

Monday, December 23rd 2019, 4:32 pm - Shaking was felt from at least one of the quakes in communities in northern Vancouver Island.

A number of strong quakes were detected off the B.C. coast Monday, with several aftershocks reported.

Two of the quakes were magnitude 6.0, preceded by quakes of magnitude 5.2 and 5.7, at depths of 10-12 km. All took place 163-175 km west of Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island, over the course of four hours from 8:44 a.m. PST.

At present, no serious damage or injuries has been reported, with the strongest quake lasting as much as two minutes, with some reports of it being felt in Port Hardy. No tsunami warnings are in effect.

Quakes of that magnitude typically are followed by several aftershocks, and several have been detected.

B.C. and the U.S. Pacific Northwest are some of the most earthquake-prone parts of North America, and B.C. itself sees more earthquakes in a year than all the rest of Canada combined.

That's because the region is part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where the Juan de Fuca plate is descending beneath, or "subducting," the much larger North American plate. From time to time one plate will stick to another, causing a buildup of pressure that is released as earthquakes.


The region was the site of the most powerful earthquake known in North America, a Magnitude 9.0 tremor in 1700, before European contact with the region. First Nations lore describes major devastation to the area, and the quake was so powerful that Japan reported an "orphan tsunami" from it, despite not having actually felt the shaking.

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