Posted on October 12, 2011
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.