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A look at the different types of earthquakes and why they happen.

Next big quake and tsunami could occur off Haida Gwaii


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, April 23, 2015, 5:54 PM - Friday's earthquake off the Haida Gwaii coast adds credence to what experts have been saying for a while: British Columbia's next big quake and tsunami are likely to occur along the Pacific archipelago south of the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Another earthquake that occurred in the same area on October 2012 helped alleviate some of the strain on the region's tectonic plates, but a recent study suggests shifting has increased pressure south of the Haida Gwaii islands along the Queen Charlotte Fault.

"What this has done in essence is raise the possibility of future thrust earthquakes and tsunamis along this part of the British Columbia margin," Thomas James, a researcher with the Geological Survey of Canada told the Canadian Press.

According to James, the Pacific and North American tectonic plates typically slide along one another but at certain points along the Queen Charlotte Fault they push against each other, causing a build-up of pressure that led to the 2012 earthquake.


RELATED: What happens if a quake hits Vancouver?


The findings come on the heels of a government-sanctioned consultation report suggesting the province is falling behind on earthquake preparedness.

Public apathy due to a lack of seismic activity has prompted officials to divert funds to other matters, leaving shortcomings in emergency management protocols.

It's not clear when the next big earthquake will hit -- but experts say there's a 12% probability a quake that measures magnitude-9 or greater could occur in the next 50 years.

Source: The Canadian Press

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