Below the surface: Thousands of tiny tremors detected beneath Vancouver Island


Far under our feet on Vancouver Island sits a hotbed of seismic activity.

Before we start quaking in our boots, experts want to make one thing clear: “These are not earthquakes,” says Camille Brillon from Natural Resources Canada.

Brillon says since Feb. 10, about 2,300 tiny tremors have been detected in the subduction zone stretching between southern to mid-Vancouver Island.

“These are just small magnitude 0.5 to 1.0 seismic events. These aren’t earthquakes, it’s basically just chatter,” says Brillon.

Brillon says the tremors occur every 14-16 months and were first detected at the Canada Pacific Geoscience Centre in the early 2000s, and the centre has data that goes back to about 1990.

“We know that if there was a big Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, the rupture would go all the way to where these tremors happen,” she says.

READ ALSO: ‘Be prepared’: Earthquake in Japan serves as reminder of Vancouver Island’s seismic activity

Brillon says the tremors are far too deep below the surface to be detected by anything but instrumentation, but they serve as a reminder to people living on the Island to be prepared in the eventuality of an earthquake.

“Aside from the big one, we have smaller-sized earthquakes every day. What’s in your earthquake kit?”

Brillon predicts the tremors will die off in the coming days.

Jordan Cunningham

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