Seismologists state that the series of earthquakes felt off the coast of B.C. recently are not connected to the subduction zone where the “big One is expected to hit. (File photo)

Series of recent earthquakes off Vancouver Island not connected to the Big One

Last one on Halloween night

The series of earthquakes that have rattled parts of Vancouver Island recently are not a prelude to the long-expected “Big One” that seismologists have predicted for years.

Seismologist John Cassidy, who works in the Sidney office of Natural Resources Canada, said the entire west coast is an active region of plate tectonics.

He said the six earthquakes that have hit off the Island’s west coast in recent weeks did not originate in the major subduction zone where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate meets the North American plate.

That’s where an expected major earthquake that could be 9.0 in magnitude on the richter scale or higher (a.k.a the Big One) is expected to originate.

“These earthquakes are not related to that, and they are not adding or lessening the stress that has built up in the subduction zone,” Cassidy said.

“The recent earthquakes were in fairly close proximity to each other and were located in areas where smaller tectonic plates are sliding past each other. Earthquakes from the subduction zone where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate collides directly with the North American plate are the biggest earthquakes that hit this area, but they are also the rarest.”

The latest earthquake, which struck on Halloween night about 200 kilometres west of Port Hardy at a depth of 10 kilometres, measured 4.9 magnitude.

RELATED STORY: MINOR EARTHQUAKE RECORDED OFF COAST OF VANCOUVER ISLAND

It came on the heels of three relatively strong earthquakes, followed by two smaller ones, last month that were recorded off Vancouver Island, about 260 kilometres west of Tofino.

Those earthquakes ranged from 6.8 to 4.0 on the richter scale, but did not cause damage or a tsunami.

RELATED STORY: THREE STRONG EARTHQUAKES REPORTED OFF VANCOUVER ISLAND

Cassidy said the earthquake on Halloween night was an aftershock from the previous earthquakes, and more are also likely, but it’s expected that they will become less frequent and intense over time.

“We’re not overly concerned about these series of earthquakes, but people should be aware that this is a seismically active region where earthquakes can be expected, including the Big One at some point,” he said.

British Columbia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an active seismic zone where thousands of mostly small earthquakes are recorded annually by sensors in the province.

The last earthquake felt in the Cowichan Valley was on Dec. 30, 2015, when a 4.3-magnitude earthquake, centred approximately eight kilometres east of Sidney, between Victoria and Vancouver, shook Vancouver Island.

The last time there was a major earthquake close to the Cowichan Valley was a 6.8 magnitude shaker in 2001, which was centred south of Seattle.

The last massive earthquake that was centred in the major subduction zone where the Big One is expected took place on Jan. 26, 1700 and it was estimated to be more than 9.0 magnitude.

It’s estimated that a major quake happens in that region on average every 300 years.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cowichan men face ordered to pay thousands in fines following deer meat sting

The incidents happened years ago but sentencing was recently concluded.

Accused pleads not guilty as Trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder

Colin John quietly entered not guilty pleas to both charges.

RCMP’s North Cowichan/Duncan detachment officers overwhelmed with accolades

“There is really some amazing work being done here in the Cowichan Valley”

Trial opens for accused in 2016 Chemainus murder

“I was soaked in blood from the neck down”: witness

VIDEO: Two officers of B.C. Legislature escorted out amid investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Coming up in Cowichan: Child sex tafficking talk; Voices from the Watershed

Duncan church hosting speaker on child sex trafficking in B.C. On Wednesday,… Continue reading

Pot users, investors need to be vigilant at Canada-U.S. border

U.S. authorities say anyone who admits to having used pot before it became legal could be barred

Awards will recognize business excellence on Vancouver Island

Nomination period begins for Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Most Read