The tranquillity of a Sunday morning was subtly punctuated by the stirring of the earth beneath the waters off British Columbia’s coast. A series of three minor tremors reverberated through the seismically active region, leaving no discernable damage or tsunami activity in their wake.
Registering 4.0 on the Richter scale, the third tremor was duly recorded around 8:20 a.m. local time. The seismic activity seemed to originate approximately 185 kilometres west of Port Hardy, located to the north of Vancouver Island.
Preceding this event, two additional tremors shook the same location. A more substantial quake, exhibiting a magnitude of 5.5, was captured at 4:30 a.m., with a preceding 4.2 magnitude tremor transpiring roughly ninety minutes prior.
Currently, the agency has its experienced eyes fixed on a proliferation of earthquakes arriving en masse far from the northern coast of Vancouver Island. From September 14, the ground has shuddered more than 30 times in a series of temblors, none of which made themselves felt on dry land. The most notable of this series was measured at magnitude 5.5 on Sunday.
Seismologist Andrew Schaeffer of Natural Resources Canada likens the seismic activity in this pocket of the ocean to an ordinary day at the office. Schaeffer sheds light on the tremors, explaining they convene within a region known as the Queen Charlotte Triple Junction — a hotspot for tectonic conversation where three colossal plates hold court.
Schaeffer elaborates, “Owing to this, we experience substantial seismic activities here. Sometimes they arrive in clusters, while during other periods, it’s merely part of the normal, everyday seismic background noise.” The seismologist emphasises the unpredictable nature of these events, cautioning that it’s virtually impossible to guarantee whether the region has seen the last of them for now.
Indeed, it’s not dictated by the shifting of seasons or transitional weather patterns, as Schaeffer points out, “sometimes swarms occur. It’s normal for magnitude 3.0 tremors to occur monthly in that area before we experience these bursts of heightened activity.”
Fortunately, Sunday’s tremors have left no trace of destructive impact, and no tsunami warnings have been instituted. Schaeffer noted, “For those of us residing on the west coast, these earthquakes serve as a gentle nudge, reminding us of our dwelling in an active earthquake zone.”
Additionally, Shaeffer implores residents to arm themselves with an ‘earthquake preparedness kit’, and is an advocate for the formalisation of a comprehensive family emergency plan. He urges preparation as the best weapon against the unpredictability of living within reach of these seismic shake-ups. Our responsibility, after all, is to be poised for the potential whims of Mother Nature.