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.
Our latest bug friend who dropped by tonight. These little buggers are responsible for the most annoying noise you will hear during the Costa Rica summer.
Alyssa calls the glass “the kill jar” but to date, we have yet to kill anything. They are always released to the outside from where they came.
Many earthquakes occur every day around the world. I’ve written a few articles about Vancouver earthquakes in the past only because the topic presented itself with the worry that was going on in British Columbia at the time.
Now, more that ever I feel inclined to track earthquakes since Haiti and Chile had some pretty devastating mass movements, but also because I now live in Costa Rica, which itself is an earthquake zone (see map below). In fact, we felt the fallout from an earthquake off the coast of Chile just last week.
Apart from the US Geological Survey’s latest earthquake site, the best and most concise resource I have found is on Twitter and by following WheresItShaking. These two sites alone can keep me up to date with what’s going on in the world.
At school, I always wanted to get involved with Geology and enjoyed the study of Plate Tectonics. As well as my studies as a Chemist, I won’t ever forget the enjoyment of studying rocks and the earth, most likely because of the fact that the school trips (or at least one of them) were most legendary.
On the news today they were discussing this. Seismologists were discussing small quakes in the Pacific just off the coast of Vancouver Island, they were saying how these mini-quakes could, in fact, be “gradually unlocking the tension in the Juan de Fucas and North American plates”.
This is good news for us all, perhaps we won’t have that BEHEMOTH quake that they’ve all been predicting!
Tim Mason sends me an elaborate fake email, follows up with a heartbreaking IM chat about how New Era can’t get him the Habs 59/50 hat. Then he told me a few minutes later that he was tinkering on my Linux machine in work.
Check out what happened:
Tim says: where did u go for lunch…??
Tim says: got some bad news for you by the way….
Tim says: will forward u the email…
Carlo says: phat
Carlo says: bad news about a certain new era hat?
Tim says: read the email
Carlo says: sent it yet?
Tim says: sorry buddy….
Tim says: i tried
Carlo says: thats BS man.
Carlo says: i appreciate your help. balls.
Tim says: i can call the US rep and see what i can do
Carlo says: i can get it shipped to a US address then sent up here.
Carlo says: my uncle lives in SF.
Tim says: that might work…
Carlo says: So all the Montreal Canadiens hats are in the US?
Carlo says: and… NOT in Canada?
Tim says: yeah they don’t make that style anymore
Tim says: on the yanks where them they said
Carlo says: holy moly
Tim says: lots in USA… not pop in canada for hockey… just baseball and football
Carlo says: yeah, the other hats are wack, if I can’t get that one then its all good. thanks for trying, i know you busted one trying to get it.
He then sent this fake email…
I apologize for this but we won’t be able to get the New Era cap to you as we can not access it. Not too mention that there are issues with the border crossing.
Once again I apologize and hopefully we will be able to introduce a new Montreal hat in the future.
NEW ERA FITS!!!
Here’s the rest of the MSN conversation after reading the email:
Tim says: let me ask u a question
Tim says: i was messing around on the back computer
Tim says: the server one that you use…
Carlo says: yeah, did you log in?
Tim says: yeah but it ate my disc….. i put a dvd in there….can’t get it out
Tim says: can u try for me….
Carlo says: weird. i will go fetch.
Carlo says: one sec.
Carlo says: you have a log in for that comp?
Tim says: tmason…. username mase
Tim says: but u might have to shut it off and back on again…
Carlo says: where’d you get the username from?
Tim says: but try and open the disc player
Tim says: kirk
Carlo says: ok.
Carlo says: trying now…
I doddle over to the computer to try and work this out for the mase man, and there’s a box on the computer. I thought “Who left a box on my server”. So I pick it up and there’s something inside. My name is on it, I pop it open and Tim (from here onwards and forever known as) “The Legend” Mason has hooked me up with this hat from New Era via Alabama!
Just checking in with the situation on the Vancouver Earthquake situation and there could be some good news in store for us if scientist can manage to coax some really helpful bacteria to save us all!
Researchers at UC Davis have discovered microbes that can quite literally help the process of rock forming by converting lose sediment into the hard stuff. Although only tested on a lab scale, Bacillus Pasteurii, could be the answer to soil liquefaction caused my earthquakes.
It is suggested that the majority of the destruction from a Vancouver Earthquake could come in the form of mass movement or soil/earth liquefaction, a process where soft deposits such as clay, are converted to a jellylike state by severe shaking causing a situation where structures (buildings) could sink and collapse. Eeeeek!
Check out the other articles about a potential Vancouver earthquake here:
Keep up to date with global earthquake activity.
So whatever happened with this big ‘ole Vancouver earthquake that’s supposed to be hitting us? I haven’t heard much in the news recently.
A quake registering 7.3 on the Richter scale was last experienced way back in 1946. A quake of 7.3 is classified as “major” on the Richter scale and can cause serious damage over larger areas. One thing we have to remember is that construction and infrastructure standards have come a long way so I wonder if these scales of magnitude (like Richter or Mercalli) actually take into consideration these new developments? The Richer scale was developed in 1935 and Mercalli in 1902, surely this needs to be updated? Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
I wish a scientist or geologist would comment on this blog because a lot of people have emailed me and asked me about this. Read the other article.
Apparently, Vancouver is going to be hit by a “big one”. At school, before I went to university I studied Geography at school as well as Geology. I know a little bit about plate tectonics and how and why earthquakes and mass movement occur. When will the Vancouver earthquake hit
The Juan de Fuca plate is being forced under the North American plate creating a “subduction zone”. This subduction has formed a lot of magnificent mountain areas in the Cascade Volcanic Belt (where volcanic mountains have formed that are not all within the Cascade Range). The movement of one plate beneath each other is never a smooth process. These plates tend to lock up until it reaches a point where there is so much pressure and stress that it violently moves. It is this mass movement that causes an earthquake.
This could trigger a Vancouver earthquake.
I can see Mount Baker from my window. There are many other mountains that you may have heard about in and around Vancouver, BC such as:
- Mount Silverthrone
- Devastator Peak
- Mount Fee
- Black Tusk
- Cinder Cone
- Opal Cone
- Mount Garibaldi
- Watts Point
Baker incidentally still shows steam/fume activity from its crate but is considered dormant. They also said this about Mount St. Helens which erupted famously in 1980 and was observed around the world in the media. Luckily, that did not trigger a Vancouver earthquake.
I definitely do not believe that we’re going to die, but if we were living on Vancouver Island I would be worried. Vancouver Island is a direct formation resulting from plate tectonic activity. Good reads for this include Global Tectonics and Earth as an Evolving Planetary System. (I believe the latter was on my course reading list at school).