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If an earthquake strikes B.C., new research suggests Vancouver would be harder-hit than previously thought.

What happens if an earthquake hits Vancouver?

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Monday, August 25, 2014, 9:07 AM -

For a city that is always looking over its shoulder for the "Big One," Sunday's earthquake rattled nerves as well as buildings.

We're talking about northern California, which was rocked by a Magnitude 6.0 tremor Sunday - but Canada's west coast is just as earthquake prone, and just as at-risk for a major earthquake hit in the coming years.

We talked to researchers at the University of British Columbia (check out the video above), and according to a recent study, the city of Vancouver, the west's largest city, 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. 

After a Magnitude 7.7 earthquake rattled Pakistan last year, killing more than 200 people, The Weather Network spoke to another earthquake expert, Dr. Brent Ward, who estimated a similar quake striking near Vancouver could cause more than $100 billion in damage, and claim thousands of lives.

Ward said the tectonic activity in the Pacific northwest will almost certainly result in a catastrophically powerful earthquake affecting British Columbia sooner rather than later, possibly as strong as Magnitude 9.

It's happened before. In the 1700s, a Magnitude 9 quake struck the region, causing widespread damage to the landscape and sending tsunamis racing as far away as Japan.

RELATED: Read about 10 powerful earthquakes that changed history.

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