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‘Boom’ near Lac La Biche Tuesday night not seismic: Earthquakes Canada

Natural Resources Canada reports an earthquake outside Edmonton, Jan. 24, 2017. .
Natural Resources Canada reports an earthquake outside Edmonton, Jan. 24, 2017. . Natural Resources Canada, Credit

*EDITOR’S NOTE: This occurrence was first reported as an earthquake on Jan. 25. Earthquakes Canada clarified Jan. 27 it wasn’t seismic.

What was initially believed to have been an earthquake near Lac La Biche, Alta. Tuesday night was likely caused by something above ground.

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) posted on its website Wednesday that an earthquake was registered west northwest of Edmonton Tuesday.

The organization reported a 2.5-magnitude earthquake 97 kilometres from Edmonton at 9:36 p.m (UT).

However, on Friday, Earthquakes Canada sent out a message on Twitter saying the “acoustic disturbance” or “boom/small shake” near Lac La Biche on Jan. 24 was “likely from an above ground source.”

Earthquakes Canada also said “nothing seismic was recorded.”

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Several Lac La Biche residents reported to Global News that their homes shook and they also heard a very large boom.  Lac La Biche is about 215 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, which is east of where the NRC report said the quake was centred.

The Canadian Forces Base in Cold Lake said the disturbance might have been caused by its planes.

“Aircraft from 4 Wing Cold Lake were conducting night operations inside the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range on the evening of Jan. 24, 2017, in the vicinity of Lac La Biche,” Capt. Mat Strong said in a statement to Global News.

“These operations may have caused a disruption in the form of increased noise for the residents of this region. For this likely disruption, we apologize.”

Strong said anyone who “experienced a significant impact by this event” should contact 4 Wing Operations at 780-840-8000 extension 8595.

READ MORE: Fracking can cause low-intensity earthquakes months later: new study

The cause of the boom is unknown. Previous earthquakes in northern Alberta have been blamed on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Fracking involves injecting a chemical mixture into the ground. The pressure of the fluids then breaks shale formations and releases oil or natural gas for capture.

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READ MORE: Experts trying to stop fracking earthquakes in Alberta

On Jan. 12, 2016, the Alberta Energy Regulator confirmed a 4.8-magnitude earthquake happened near Fox Creek, Alta.

Alberta averages 30 earthquakes a year and there are over 4,000 earthquakes annually in Canada, but about 50 of those are felt, according to the Geological Survey of Canada.