5.4 magnitude earthquake strikes off the coast of Vancouver Island

Jul 22 2020, 2:50 pm

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake hit the coast of Vancouver Island early Wednesday morning, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

The earthquake took place at 4:33 am PT around 221 km west of Tofino, BC, and had a depth of 10 km.

There are no reports of damage and no tsunami is expected.

The earthquake was located 220 km southwest of Port Alice, BC, 326 km west-southwest of Campbell River, BC, 442 km west of Victoria, BC and 458 km west of Vancouver, BC.

This earthquake came a few hours after another earthquake 7.8 magnitude hit 105 km south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska, according to USGS. A tsunami warning was issued for parts of the southern Alaska coast, but has since ended. The tsunami warning had no threat to BC.

In May, an earthquake of similar magnitude to this morning, at 5.2, struck the coast of Vancouver Island, in the Port Hardy area.

Last year, in December, British Columbia saw a strange interval of seismic activity – nine earthquakes over a three day span.

Each year, the province sees thousands of earthquakes, but only a small fraction of them reach a magnitude of 3.0 and over.

An increase in an earthquake’s magnitude of even 1.0 – such as the difference between a 4.0 magnitude earthquake and 5.0 magnitude earthquake – is a tremendous difference in the power of an earthquake.

A magnitude 8.0 earthquake is 1,000 times more powerful than one of 5.0 magnitude, as a further example. If an earthquake is shallow with a 5.0 magnitude, it can still cause powerful damage when the epicentre is nearby urban areas. The impact of the quake is amplified with a shallow depth.

Irelyne LaveryIrelyne Lavery

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