‘Business as usual’: 3 earthquakes rumble off coast of Vancouver Island just hours apart

‘Business as usual’: 3 earthquakes rumble off coast of Vancouver Island just hours apart
CHEK

Three relatively minor earthquakes shook off the west coast of Vancouver Island on Thursday, over the course of just a few hours.

The first earthquake was detected around 6:18 a.m. about 149 kilometres west of Tofino, according to Earthquakes Canada.

The 4.3 magnitude shaker was recorded at a depth of five kilometres.

Then, about three hours later, a second, larger 5.2 magnitude earthquake was recorded in the same area at approximately 9:15 a.m.

The second quake was located about 196 kilometres west of Tofino, also at a depth of five kilometres.

The third earthquake was recorded just before 10:45 a.m. at 239 kilometres west of Tofino. The 4.1 magnitude earthquake rumbled at a depth of 10 kilometre.

Andrew Schaeffer, a seismologist and research scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada, says the recent earthquakes are “business as usual” for the coast of Vancouver Island.

“There were several magnitude high 3s and low to mid-4s yesterday, and we had more this morning, a mid 4 and a 5 about an hour ago, and this is pretty normal for this area,” he told CHEK News in an interview around 10:15 a.m.

“So these earthquakes occurred in the northern edge of the Juan de Fuca ridge, which is quite common to get 4s and 5s there on a pretty regular basis.”

SEE ALSO: Researchers to visit site where 2,000 earthquakes rumbled off Vancouver Island in 1 day

Schaeffer says that if multiple 4 or 5 magnitude earthquakes are being felt, that means many more earthquakes of a lower magnitude are shaking at the same time, but are going undetected.

“These would be accompanied by many, many smaller earthquakes as well, they’re just too small to be detected by the land-based networks that we have, so these would be accompanied by many magnitude 2s.”

He adds that while the earthquakes are recorded, there is no risk of damage from shaking or tsunamis.

“These are spreading ridge earthquakes, so they’re not generally tsunamigenic and they’re also very shallow,” said the seismologist.

“So we typically don’t get any sort of damage, let alone have them even be felt on Vancouver Island.”

Schaeffer says the recent earthquakes are not related to the Cascadia subduction zone, but serve as a good reminder that Vancouver Island does sit along a fault line and that “we should be prepared.”

READ MORE: New Cascadia fault line study finds most dangerous segment sits near Vancouver Island

The location of the first earthquake is shown. (Earthquakes Canada)

The location of the second earthquake is pictured. (Earthquakes Canada)

Adam ChanAdam Chan

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