Multiple powerful earthquakes ranging from a 4.5 in magnitude to 6.8 struck Sunday night and Monday morning around 200 kilometres west off the coast of Vancouver Island.
Natural Resources Canada said there were a few reports of light shaking but no damage or tsunami followed.
The USGS reported six:
- 6.6 striking at a depth of 11 kilometres at 10:39 p.m.
- 6.8 striking at a depth of 10 kilometres at 11:15 p.m.
- 6.5 striking at a depth of 10 kilometres at 11:22 p.m.
- 4.9 striking at a depth of 17.8 kilometres at 11:36 p.m.
- 4.3 striking at a dept of 10 kilometres at 12:13 p.m.
- 4.5 striking at a depth of 11 kilometres at 1:43 a.m.
Each occurred near one another, ranging between 181 to 223 kilometres south-west of Port Hardy.
“We’ve seen large earthquakes out there before but not three in the span of an hour… it’s a bit unusual… but the earthquakes themselves are not unusual in the area,” said seismologist for Natural Resources Canada John Cassidy.
“There had been a number of smaller aftershocks, which are typical and which we expect to continue for several hours or even days.”
Cassidy says the region regularly experiences earthquakes.
“Tonight’s earthquakes occurred was in what we call a transform fault, it’s that horizontal slipping. Between the explorer plate off of northern Vancouver Island and the Pacific plate,” said Cassidy.
“These plates move at the speed at how much your fingernails grow but over hundreds of years that’s a lot of moment.”
He adds that offshore Vancouver Island is one of Canada’s most seismically active regions that has seen 54 quakes of greater than magnitude 5.0 since 1985 within 100 km of today’s events, including a 6.6 in 2004 and 2001.
“Tonight’s earthquakes are a good reminder of the movement of these tectonic plates off the coast,” added Cassidy.
A smaller magnitude 2.7 quake was also reported at 1:04 a.m. Monday near Seattle, 7 kilometres east of Carnation Washington.