A new study raises tsunami concerns in Washington. But could waves reach B.C.?

Click to play video: 'Tsunami threat still present in B.C.'
Tsunami threat still present in B.C.
A new study suggests the impact of a potential tsunami in Washington state's Puget Sound may not reach B.C., but as University of Victoria professor Lucinda Leonard tells us, it doesn't mean we can't be affected by earthquakes further up our coast – Jul 9, 2022

A study published by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources states that if a major earthquake were to happen along the Seattle Fault, tsunami waves could arrive in minutes to the Greater Seattle area.

University of Victoria assistant professor of earth and ocean sciences, Lucinda Leornard, gave her opinion on what B.C. would experience if a major earthquake occurred at the Seattle Fault.

“Thankfully, we are quite a bit further away from the Seattle Fault. We expect the tsunami would be a lot smaller by the time it reaches the shores in B.C., certainly less than one metre in height,” Leornard said.

The assistant professor said that although we most likely wouldn’t see large tsunami waves, there still would be impacts to the B.C. coast.

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“(There could be) some dangerous currents from this type of tsunami and even tsunami waves as small as half a metre could cause damage in harbours,” Leornard told Global BC on Saturday morning.

While an incident like this is certainly something to be aware of, Leornard said the Seattle Fault does not pose a significant threat to British Columbia. It is, though, a part of a significant network of fault lines that are much closer to the province.

“We can’t just think we are in the clear with the Seattle Fault far away,” Leornard said.

“The Seattle Fault is one of a whole network of shallow faults, many of which are much closer to our large population centers.”

She continued, “We do believe these large faults that are closer to Victoria and Vancouver could generate a tsunami.”

The university assistant professor said it is very important for residents that live close to B.C. shores to be aware of the dangers and to have an emergency plan in place in case of disaster.

Click to play video: 'Invasive mussels intercepted entering British Columbia'
Invasive mussels intercepted entering British Columbia

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