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Three minor earthquakes recorded off B.C. coast, near Port Hardy

A third minor earthquake has struck the British Columbia coast today. British Columbia's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Original Publication Date September 17, 2023 - 3:36 AM

PORT HARDY, B.C. - Three minor earthquakes rattled a seismically active area off British Columbia's coast on Sunday without causing any damages or triggering tsunami activity.

Earthquakes Canada said a 4.0 magnitude quake was registered around 8:20 a.m. local time. Its epicentre was 185 kilometres west of Port Hardy, north of Vancouver Island.

This followed a 5.5 magnitude quake recorded at 4:30 a.m. and another 4.2 magnitude quake recorded about an hour and a half earlier near the same location.

The agency said it is currently monitoring a swarm of earthquakes far off the coast of northern Vancouver Island. There have been more than 30 temblors since Sept. 14, though none have been felt, with the largest being Sunday's 5.5-magnitude quake.

Andrew Schaeffer, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, said seismic activity in that area is "completely common."

He explained the quakes took place in a region called the Queen Charlotte Triple Junction, where three tectonic plates meet.

"As a result, we get quite a bit of seismicity in this area," Schaeffer said in an interview Sunday. "Sometimes it comes in swarms, sometimes it's just kind of continuous normal background seismicity."

Schaeffer said it is not possible to predict whether more will occur.

"It's not a function of weather or time of year, just sometimes the swarm will happen. Otherwise it's pretty normal for a magnitude 3.0 to pop off every month, at least, in that area and then sometimes we just get these bursts of activity."

There are no reports of any damage from Sunday's quakes and no tsunami is expected, Schaeffer said.

"For us on the west coast, (earthquakes) are just another reminder that we live in an active earthquake zone and let's be prepared."

He suggested people ensure they have an 'earthquake preparedness kit' on hand and formalize a family emergency plan so they are ready in the event of a natural disaster.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 17, 2023.

— By Brieanna Charlebois in Vancouver

News from © The Canadian Press, 2023
The Canadian Press

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