Shaking felt on Vancouver Island after earthquake strikes off coast of Tofino


A 4.8-magnitude earthquake recorded northwest of Tofino Friday night was felt on parts of Vancouver Island but did not pose a tsunami threat, officials say.

The earthquake was detected at 7:50 p.m. about 34 kilometres northwest of the coastal community, at a depth of 32 kilometres.

There were no reports of damage, but more than 100 British Columbians reported on Earthquakes Canada’s website that they felt shaking, including residents in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Powell River and as far away as Vancouver.

Pacific Rim MLA and former Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne was one of the people to feel the earthquake, tweeting that her “whole house shuddered.”

CHEK News reporter Dean Stoltz also felt the quake in the Comox Valley, saying his couch even shook.

It’s the second day in a row an earthquake has occurred in the same region off Vancouver Island, with a magnitude 4 shaker recorded just after 5 a.m. Thursday. That quake struck a bit farther away about 300 kilometres southwest of Tofino.

“A magnitude 4.8 is not unheard of, but it’s a relatively rare event. You know, in that immediate area very close to Tofino, there hasn’t been an earthquake of that size in more than a decade,” said Dr. John Cassidy, an earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada.

Cassidy says people reported feeling the earthquake across much of Vancouver Island and as far south as Seattle, WA.

He tells CHEK News that the lack of aftershocks is likely related to the earthquake’s depth.

“It’s probably in this ocean plate that is very slowly being pushed beneath Vancouver Island, and those types of earthquakes, like the Nisqually earthquake near Seattle back in 2001, those deep earthquakes tend to have no aftershocks or very few and very small aftershocks,” said Cassidy.

Ucluelet’s mayor was out at a busy restaurant in her village when the earthquake shook.

“It kind of felt like a big truck had backed into the back deck of the restaurant and everybody kind of looked at each other and the restaurant owner ran out to see what was going on and realized a truck had not backed into his deck,” said Marilyn McEwen. “It was an earthquake.”

McEwen says it may be time for Ucluelet to run another drill practicing where people should go after an earthquake, as it has been several years.

Cassidy adds that this earthquake should remind people that the Island is an active earthquake zone. He says everyone should have an emergency kit and know what to do in the event of a quake.

“Getting under a table and holding on so that table can’t get away from you is one of the simplest things,” Cassidy said.

An Earthquakes Canada map shows where Friday night’s earthquake struck off the coast of Tofino, B.C.


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