4.3 magnitude earthquake shakes central Alberta near Rocky Mountain House
A 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit west of Red Deer early Sunday morning, almost a week after a similar incident in the same area.
Information posted by Natural Resources Canada states the earthquake happened around 4 a.m. 32 kilometres northwest of Rocky Mountain House, at a depth of 10 kilometres.
“It was a shallow event. It was felt by local residents,” said Dr. Honn Kao, a research scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada. “According to our recordings, we do not expect any particular damage.”
“We have already spoken to the AER about this particular event and they are currently investigating to see if there’s any industrial activity around in that area,” Kao added.
The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) confirmed it is looking into the incident.
Spokesperson Cara Tobin said the AER has heard reports but has not been able to identify one way or the other if the earthquake was induced.
“While we cannot say for sure either way at this time, the area is known for naturally occurring seismic activity that is unrelated to industrial activity,” read a statement from the AER.
“A 4.3 magnitude earthquake was recorded in that area in August 2014.”
Tobin said there were no reported impacts to public safety, infrastructure or the environment at this time.
Sunday’s quake comes on the heels on a 4.6 magnitude earthquake last Monday near Sylvan Lake and Red Deer.
AER said Vesta Energy Ltd. contacted the regulator on March 4 at 6:20 a.m. saying that seismic activity was detected due to hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking) at the site. AER said that Vesta had shut down fracking right away.
Fracking involves pumping chemicals and sand underground to break up rocks to help get oil and natural gas flowing.
It’s not the first time Alberta has been rocked by seismic activity; in 2018, two seismic events were detected near Alberta Beach, and in 2014 a 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit Rocky Mountain House in August, followed by another small earthquake in Banff in October.
-with files from Global News
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