UPDATE: No major damage has been reported and there was no tsunami as a result of the earthquake.
An earthquake has been reported east of Tofino, but authorities say there is no risk of a tsunami.
Earthquakes Canada says there was an automatic detection of a 4.6 seismic event at 6:02 this evening. The U.S. Geological Survey has reported the earthquake at a 4.8 magnitude, and say it happened in Tofino inlet, 18 kilometres northeast of Tofino, 24.6 kilometres beneath the surface.
There have been no immediate reports of any damage, but people throughout Vancouver Island have said they felt the quake.
But John Cassidy of Pacific Geoscience Centre says that earthquakes can happen anywhere along the subduction zone separating the Juan de Fuca and North America plates.
“A magnitude 4.8 is right at the threshold where you might see very minor damage if you’re very close,” says Cassidy.
He says it’s the largest on shore earthquake felt in the west coast of Vancouver Island since 2000 – and a reminder that if a long-expected large earthquake hits, its exact location could be anywhere along the coast of British Columbia.
“The last really big earthquake was a 7.3 magnitude event back in 1946, so it’s been quite a long time. But we’ve seen these large coastal earthquakes happen before, and they’ll happen again. We don’t know when it will hit.”
With files from the Canadian Press