Northern Quakes Make Islanders Shake

At Highland Secondary School, Mrs. Bourchier was easily one of the most well-liked teachers. In 10th grade, my classmates and I secretly crossed our fingers that her name would be on our schedules for Science 10. I was one of the lucky ones. Science was never a subject that I cared much for, but Mrs. B held my interest.

Because we live on the Juan de Fuca fault, the unit on earthquakes had everyone talking. One day in class, Mrs. B stated “if The Big One ever occurred, because of the plate structure, Vancouver Island would likely slip underneath the Mainland.”

Diagram: Natural Resources Canada

Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what she said, but it’s all my ears heard.

Fast forward a decade or more and I’ve come to experience a few tiny tremblers in my adult life, none of which were as scary as I expected. Northern Vancouver Island has been the epicentre for quake activity in recent weeks, activity that’s rattled many Island residents.

The latest earthquake struck late Sunday with a magnitude of 4.3 [source]. Though we’ve all been taught that The Big One is inevitable, the optimist in me would like to believe that all these little shakers are, one by one, relieving some of the pressure (though I’m quite sure that’s not actually true).

Either way, here are some facts to help you hang on to your sanity…

  • The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) records and locates an average of 4,000 earthquakes in Canada each year – that averages out to 11 per day!
  • About 1,000 of those Canadian earthquakes are recorded in the GSC’s Sidney office on southern Vancouver Island.
  • Vancouver Island will not sink in the event of an earthquake. It is located on the North American plate
  • No confirmed casualty has ever been directly related to a Canadian earthquake, nor has any building actually ever collapsed.


For the second time this year, more than 400,000 British Columbians are banding together to be prepared and practice what to do in the face of an earthquake. The Great British Columbia Shake Out takes place on Thursday, October 20 across the Province at 10:20 a.m. Find out more information online.

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2 Comments on “Northern Quakes Make Islanders Shake

  1. Hi Keira,

    Earthquakes scare me as i’ve always been told Richmond would sink into the ocean in the case of an extreme one! Your blog is beautiful and well written – which is why I have added it to my new blog directory @

    Feel free to promote your blog in our forums even though they are pretty much empty right now! It is receiving a decent amount of traffic so take advantage of the early stages of the forums when lots of people are just looking :)

    Thank you!!

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