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2 more earthquakes strike near B.C. coast Christmas Day, expert says no cause for alarm

The location of a 3.6-magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Vancouver Island on Dec. 25, 2019.
The location of a 3.6-magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast of Vancouver Island on Dec. 25, 2019. Google Maps

Two more earthquakes struck off the coast of Vancouver Island on Christmas Day, but an expert says people shouldn’t worry about the recent burst in seismic activity over the past two days.

The first quake, which registered at 3.6 magnitude, struck 153 kilometres west of Port Hardy — which sits on the northeast tip of Vancouver Island — just before 8:30 a.m. PT, according to Earthquakes Canada.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m., a 4.9-magnitude quake hit 45 kilometres northwest of the previous one.

The earthquakes weren’t reported as being felt, and no tsunamis were expected for the island.

READ MORE: Seventh earthquake in 48 hours strikes off coast of Vancouver Island

The location of the earthquake that struck near Vancouver Island on Dec. 25, 2019 at 8:25 a.m.
The location of the earthquake that struck near Vancouver Island on Dec. 25, 2019 at 8:25 a.m. Earthquakes Canada
The location of the earthquake that struck near Vancouver Island on Dec. 25, 2019 at 12:38 p.m.
The location of the earthquake that struck near Vancouver Island on Dec. 25, 2019 at 12:38 p.m. Earthquakes Canada

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The quakes were the weakest of nine that have struck in the same area over the past two days, the most recent of which hit just after 7:30 p.m. PT on Christmas Eve at a magnitude of 6.2.

Six others struck throughout the day on Monday between 8:44 a.m. and 9:32 p.m. PT.

According to Earthquakes Canada, the first quake measured magnitude 5.1, the second 5.6, the third 5.8, and the fourth and strongest measured 6.0. Two later quakes measured 4.8 and 4.3.

No damage or tsunamis resulted from any of the earlier quakes.

ShakeOut BC: emergency preparedness
ShakeOut BC: emergency preparedness

Dr. John Cassidy, an earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, said Wednesday that people shouldn’t be alarmed, and that the string of quakes only speaks to how seismically volatile the area is.

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“We’ve seen well over 100 earthquakes in that offshore region during the past 30 years,” Cassidy said. “So bigger earthquakes are no stranger to this area.

“It’s a very complex area where these tectonic plates that make up the surface of the earth are moving apart, sliding past one another and also colliding, all in that same general area. … So these earthquakes are really a reminder of the plate motions offshore.”

READ MORE: 6 earthquakes strike off B.C. coast, no damage or tsunami expected

This summer, another series of quakes struck off the coast of Bella Bella south of Haida Gwaii, including a 6.3-magnitude quake and three smaller aftershocks.

While those quakes weren’t felt, California saw a 7.1-magnitude quake around the same time that damaged roads and interrupted several news broadcasts.

That quake happened on a different fault, however, and was not related to the B.C. series.

READ MORE: B.C. can rest easy – for now – despite ever-increasing earthquakes on West Coast, experts say

Cassidy said while it’s difficult to predict earthquakes, it’s unlikely this latest series is a preview of a much larger quake to come.

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However, he added it’s a good reminder for people to be prepared.

“These are larger earthquakes, and had they been beneath lands, these communities would have seen not only very frightening earthquakes, but damaging earthquakes as well,” he said.

What could the latest California earthquake mean for B.C.?
What could the latest California earthquake mean for B.C.?