Islanders felt Sunday’s 4.9-magnitude earthquake: Environment Canada

Islanders felt Sunday's 4.9-magnitude earthquake: Environment Canada
Screenshot: Earthquakes Canada

Earthquakes Canada says a minor 4.9-magnitude earthquake was felt Sunday on northern and central Vancouver Island.

The quake, which happened around 3:23 p.m. at a depth of 10 kilometres, was on B.C.’s mainland, 137 km northeast of Campbell River and 222 km north-northwest of Vancouver.

“Felt on northern and central Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and many parts of Greater Vancouver,” according to Earthquakes Canada on its website.

There were no reports of damage.

John Cassidy, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, told The Canadian Press that seismic events in that part of the province are “relatively rare,” with the last quake in the area around the same magnitude hitting in 2017.

He says Sunday’s quake wasn’t a complete surprise since the province’s coastal areas are an active earthquake zone, but the largest and most frequent earthquakes occur offshore.

“For this size of an earthquake, aftershocks are expected,” Cassidy said in an interview. “In fact, we are recording a number of small aftershocks at this time. So the largest that we’ve seen so far is about a 2.6 magnitude.”

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Cassidy says aftershocks can happen hours or even days after such quakes but tend to drop off in frequency “as time goes on.”

Around 4 p.m., more than 50 people reported feeling the quake.

People in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Powell River and Vancouver filled out Earthquake Canada’s questionnaire, with most saying the intensity was “weak,” while some said it was “light” on the scale that goes from “not felt” to “extreme.”

Others took to X (formerly Twitter), including one person who said the “whole family heard and felt this one. House is sitting on hardpan in Campbell River…largest one we’ve felt here.”

Earthquakes Canada regularly posts earthquake notifications to X but, in a post last week, said it would no longer be updating its account effective Jan. 13, 2024. Its website will still be updated.

Cassidy says this latest quake serves as “a good reminder that we are in an active earthquake zone,” adding, “They don’t happen very often, but when they do happen, it’s important to know what to do, to drop, cover and hold on.”

The B.C. government has earthquake safety tips online.

-with files from The Canadian Press

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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