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Magnitude 4.5 earthquake detected off B.C. coast

Friday, January 24th 2020, 8:07 pm - No damage has been reported, and no tsunami was expected, but the shaking was felt as far away as Metro Vancouver.

British Columbians felt a bit of a jolt on Friday afternoon, courtesy of a relatively shallow earthquake that struck off the coast of Vancouver Island. The tremor was detected around 1:35 p.m. PST, 135 km west of Victoria and only 36 km away from the shore, and at a relatively shallow depth as well.

"There are no reports of damage, and none would be expected. No tsunami expected," Earthquakes Canada said Friday afternoon.

Quakes of that strength aren't uncommon in the area. A Magnitude 4.8 tremor was detected earlier this month, and several quakes happened in the days leading up to Christmas last year.

But though shaking can sometimes be felt on parts of Vancouver Island, the shaking from Friday's tremor was felt on the mainland as well, at least as far away as Surrey.

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.

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