British Colombia residents have been waiting for the big quake that is destined to rock the west coast, but today on Vancouver Island they felt a 6.7 quake at 12.41pm (6 minutes ago from when I typed this!) Don’t fret, the Vancouver Island Earthquake happened, and the island is still there!
The good news is that there is no major damage reported from the Vancouver Island Earthquake, but not only that, smaller quakes in the vicinity of the west coast are in fact a good thing. It means the tectonic pressure is being released and in fact can prevent a large earthquake happening in the future. Alas, it could also mean that there may be more earthquakes coming.
Vancouver Island Earthquake 1946
Vancouver Island has seen its share of big earthquakes. In fact, back in 1946, an earthquake measuring 7.3 was recorded on June 23rd. Two deaths were recorded from this quake, who’s epicenter was located on the aptly named Forbidden Plateau area of central Vancouver Island, west of Courtenay and Campbell River. This quake was felt as far away as Oregon in the States.
The two deaths were from a capsizing boat and a heart attack. Vancouver Island residents were scared, and many ran out into the streets in terror. Luckily, today’s earthquake was not so fatal, and buildings seemed to hold together, unlike in 1946 when there was extensive damage to buildings, such as the Bank of Montreal building (below).
1946 Earthquake damage on Vancouver Island
Many people were concerned that Vancouver Island might break off and sink, but today’s quake just proves how ridiculous that idea is. In a really big earthquake, it is quite possible that the seafloor that is just offshore from the island may be lifted up and it is possible that the coastal area could sink, and at the worst, the sinking would be only a few meters. Residents living at the beach may experience some flooding, but the likelihood of the island crumbling into the sea is not very likely at all. Landslides in the ocean itself are possible which may cause smaller scale tsunami type effects which may contribute to localized flooding.
A relatively small Vancouver Island earthquake
All in all, a relatively small quake similar to the ones we feel here in Central America and no reports of major damage or loss of life.