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

Shutter Shack being held hostage by landlords, protesters say

Victoria-based landlords to supervise removal of equipment from their Prince Rupert commercial unit

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Harbour debris burned in Tuck Inlet

400 cubic meters of material being burned by the Harbour Debris Society until January 17

Is Terrace prepared for a rail disaster?

Council asked to review surge in dangerous goods movement: “I live in the blast zone,” says resident

Rainmakers dominant over the weekend

Junior and Senior boys basketball teams score victories over Prince George

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Truck hauling compressed gas for ‘virtual pipeline’ crashes on B.C. highway

Driver charged and highway closed for nine hours - containers did not rupture

Most Read