The most recent earthquake was a 2.4 magnitude quak which struck about seven kilometres northwest of Langford on March 5. (istock photo)

Series of small earthquakes no cause for concern, says expert

Earthquakes still a reminder for residents to be prepared

A University of Victoria professor says the handful of earthquakes that have hit the Greater Victoria area in the past few months are no cause for concern.

“These earthquakes are not a surprise in that we live in a tectonic plate boundary setting. We live on top of a subduction zone where the Pacific Plate is being subducted underneath North America,” said Edwin Nissen, an associate professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.

“The stress is building up and those eventually result in earthquakes. Those include rare, very large earthquakes, but also rather common earthquakes.”

RELATED: Small earthquake rattles southern Vancouver Island

In the past several weeks, three earthquakes of note have struck the West Coast. In January, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the Alaskan coast, triggering a tsunami warning for the coast of B.C., including parts of Greater Victoria. Just a few weeks later, a 2.8 magnitude earthquake was felt in Sidney and throughout Greater Victoria.

More recently on March 5, a 2.4 magnitude earthquake struck about seven kilometres northwest of Langford (just outside of downtown Victoria) at around 10:06 p.m., and was felt across the region.

There have also been several smaller quakes near Sooke and in the State of Washington.

Nissen said small earthquakes (ones that are roughly 2 to 3 magnitudes) may be occurring for a few reasons.

“All earthquakes on Vancouver Island occur because of the stresses caused by the eastward motion of the Pacific sea-floor relative to the North American plate,” he said. “The Pacific sea-floor is sliding underneath Vancouver Island. The largest earthquakes occur on the interface between the two plates, but the stresses also cause smaller earthquakes within the overriding plate (North America) as well as within the subducting Pacific plate.”

RELATED: Tsunami warning an ‘exercise in precaution’

While Nissen said the earthquakes are not an indication that the ‘Big One’ could happen anytime soon, they do serve as reminders to be prepared for emergencies in the future.

“In this part of the world, people should always be concerned about earthquakes and people should do the simple steps that can ensure that if and when a large earthquake strikes, your property, your life the lives of your loved ones are safe,” he said.

“I view them as a reminder to us all that we live in a setting where we can experience very large earthquakes and therefore we should make sure that we’re prepared.”

Households should have emergency plans and kits ready to grab at a moment’s notice. Emergency Management B.C. said kits should include ready-to-eat food and water, flashlights and batteries, a radio, seasonal clothing, medications, a small First-Aid kit, and whistle, among other things.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Update on wildfires in the Cariboo, Aug. 18

The latest update on wildfires, evacuation alerts and orders in the Cariboo Fire Centre

Sulphurous Recreation Site and Trail opening

The project took three years to complete.

From the archives of the 100 Mile Free Press

38 Years Ago (1980): Dusty from logging trucks using the industrial road… Continue reading

Smaller B.C. bus service prepares to replace Greyhound

Kootenay-to-Okanagan run would require online reservations

Mother charged with homicide of Langley seven-year-old

Aaliyah Rosa’s 36-year-old mother charged with second degree murder: IHIT

Despite threats, Soldiers of Odin a no show at B.C. tent city

Nanaimo’s Discontent City held a counter rally on Sunday

Trudeau formally announces he’ll run again in 2019

PM Justin Trudeau gears up to run in next year’s election

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

A massive cloud of smoke hangs over B.C. and Alberta due to wildfires

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

In response to the Pennsylvania report, Francis labeled the misconduct “crimes”

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

The pilot project provides seasonal workers with up to five more weeks of benefits

Trump rages on Mueller following Times report

Trump takes to Twitter calling Robert Mueller “disgraced and discredited”

Most Read