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Magnitude 4.8 quake detected off coast of Vancouver Island

Wednesday, January 8th 2020, 4:38 pm - The tremor follows on from a series of small quakes detected back in December.

A small earthquake has been detected off the B.C. coast, the latest in a succession of quakes that have struck more or less the same area.

Earthquakes Canada rated the earthquake at Magnitude 4.8, at 12:20 p.m. PST on Wednesday, at a relatively shallow depth of 10 km. It struck at sea about 200 km away from the Vancouver Island community of Port Hardy. Earthquakes Canada said the quake was too weak to be felt.

"There are no reports of damage, and none would be expected. No tsunami expected," the agency says.

The quake occurred not far from other, slightly stronger quakes that struck the area in December. Eight tremors were detected from December 23 to December 25, five on the 23rd alone. They ranged in intensity from Magnitude 3.6 to a peak Magnitude 6.2 on Christmas Eve.

British Columbia is the most seismically active province in Canada, located as it is in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where the Juan da Fuca plate is being forced beneath, or "subducted" beneath the much larger North American plate. From time to time, the plates will "stick," building up the pressure until it is violently released in the form of earthquakes.

In 1700, the zone was the site of a Magnitude 9.0 quake that is the most powerful known in North America, which devastated the area and sent a tsunami that reached all the way to Japan, which as too far away to have felt the initial tremor.

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