A 4.7 magnitude earthquake was detected near a British Columbia village early on Tuesday morning, lightly rattling the Haida Gwaii region but causing no reported injuries or significant damage.
The tremor, which occurred at 5:14 a.m. on Aug. 15, was located 70 kilometres south of Daajing Giids and 222 kilometres southwest of Prince Rupert. Earthquakes Canada noted its depth at 22.4 kilometres on its website.
Residents of Daajing Giids and Skidegate reported feeling the quake, though no substantial shaking was reported. “In all cases, it was relatively weak shaking that was reported,” Natural Resources Canada Earthquakes Seismologist John Cassidy told The Terrace Standard.
According to Cassidy, there were ten reports of residents feeling the earthquake in Daajing Giids, adding that the region is one of the most seismically active parts of Canada. The quake’s characteristics suggest it could be an aftershock of the 2012 magnitude 7.8 earthquake.
“It’s in the same region and it’s the same type of movement along the fault,” Cassidy explained. “It looks more like the type of earthquakes we saw back in 2012,” differing from the type of movement along the Queen Charlotte Fault offshore of Haida Gwaii.
Cassidy mentioned that little clusters of earthquakes are common in the region. Daily tremors usually fall in the magnitude 2-3 range and go unfelt, but those reaching the 4-4.5 range are often noticeable.
Though it could be a later aftershock, Cassidy stressed that this doesn’t mean anything more substantial is looming, as predicting long-term earthquake patterns remains nearly impossible. “The most likely scenario is that there will be perhaps a few more small aftershocks, similar to the small ones that followed in the minutes after the earthquake,” he said. “There could also be none, or even a larger earthquake, but the region is always susceptible to larger earthquakes.”
The Haida Gwaii region sees seismic activity daily, including some of Canada’s largest quakes. This event serves as a timely reminder to be prepared and vigilant.
Cassidy emphasized the importance of having a preparedness kit and staying informed through sources like Shakeout BC and Emergency Info BC. Reflecting on the 2012 quake and its thousands of aftershocks, Cassidy concluded, “What we’re seeing today means things always fluctuate a little bit. In some weeks, you’ll see more earthquakes than in other weeks, but what we’re seeing is pretty much back to the normal rate of earthquakes in the area.”
Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.