Sleepy residents in the Montérégie region had a awakening early Monday morning as an earthquake shook parts of Quebec before sunrise.
“There was a big boom and then a shake,” said Marc Helpin, who lives in Huntingdon. “That’s what I felt, but it wasn’t long.”
Earthquakes Canada is reporting that a 4.0-magnitude earthquake was recorded around 5:38 a.m. in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. The epicentre of the earthquake was located about 65 kilometres southwest of the Montérégie region Chateaugay, N.Y.
The federal agency said the seismic activity was lightly felt in several areas over a 100-kilometre radius, including Rigaud, Montreal and Saint-Bruno.
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Claire Perry, a seismologist from Earthquakes Canada, told Global News that while earthquakes are not uncommon for the area, they are rarely felt.
“This area is quite an active seismic zone in eastern Canada, it’s part of what we call the western Quebec seismic zone and in this region, we report one earthquake every five days,” she said.
However, Perry said that a 4.0-magnitude earthquake is only likely to happen once or twice in a 10-year span in the area.
The Sûreté du Québec reported it received multiple calls from affected areas. Residents told the provincial police force they heard a loud rumble.
Earthquakes Canada, for its part, has received about 850 reports from people who felt or heard the earthquake even though it didn’t last very long.
“Shaking would have only lasted a few seconds in this case,” said Perry.
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While no damage has been reported, the seismic activity made for an interesting morning for a family of eight in Huntingdon. Annie Turmel and her husband thought there was a snow plow outside their home when they realized what was happening.
The pair could feel the ground shaking, but then it quickly came to a stop.
“We have six kids and they were all talking about it this morning and said ‘Did you feel it?'” she said.
The earthquake serves as a good reminder to be prepared, according to Perry. Residents should have an emergency kit prepared and to ensure that heavy items at risk of falling are bolted to the wall.
“It’s always good to be proactive,” she said.
—With files from Global News’ Tim Sargeant and La Presse Canadienne