Corner of Canada Rattled by Very Shallow Strong Twin Quakes; Dozens of Aftershocks (UPDATED)
At least two strong earthquakes struck northern British Columbia early Monday, jolting the surrounding landscape with reports indicating both were felt in neighbouring Alaska and Yukon.
The first tremor was rated Magnitude 6.2 by the U.S. Geological Survey, which said it struck at a very shallow depth of only 2.2 km early Monday morning. The second was even shallower, less than a kilometre beneath the surface in more or less the same area and as strong as magnitude 6.3.
Several aftershocks have been reported as well, including one as strong as Magnitude 5.7.
The shaking was felt as far away as Skagway in Alaska and Whitehorse in Yukon, where power outages were reported.
Working with ATCO to restore power caused by earthquake. Checking dams and substations for damage. #earthquakeskagway
— Yukon Energy (@yukonenergy) May 1, 2017
Wowza! Huge earthquake in Whitehorse for a wake up call just now. #yukon
— Ted Laking (@tedlaking) May 1, 2017
— Steve Hossack (@stevehossCBC) May 1, 2017
Residents said on social media the quake was strong enough to wake them up, and knock items off shelves.
Most schools in Yukon remain open, except for Elijah Smith Elementary School, according to a spokeswoman with the territory’s education department who told CBC it was closed for inspections after the quake.
All schools in Yukon are open, except Elijah Smith Elementary School, according to Holly Fraser, with the territory’s education department.
Authorities say there is no threat of a tsunami.
British Colombia is Canada’s most seismically active province, with its location at the edge of the Pacific Rim. Canada’s most powerful earthquake struck there in the 1700s, a Magnitude 9.0 monster that killed thousands of First Nations people and generated a tsunami that reached as far as Japan.
Several powerful earthquakes struck Monday in the northern tip of British Columbia near the border with Alaska and Yukon.
The U.S. Geological Survey says a 6.2-magnitude quake hit 88 kilometres northwest of Skagway, Alaska. That was followed by several smaller quakes, including one with a magnitude of 5.2 shake and another major 6.3 quake about almost two hours after the first.
USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan tells the Associated Press that it’s not completely uncommon for an aftershock to be larger than the triggering quake, though normally, following quakes are smaller.
Natural Resources Canada says the first quake struck around 5:30 a.m. Pacific time, at a depth of only 10 kilometres.
There are no reports of injuries or building damage in the remote region, and no tsunami warning was issued. But Yukon Energy confirmed that the quakes triggered power outages.
Several Twitter users reported feeling tremors, including many in Whitehorse, about 170 kilometres away.
Seismologist Taimi Mulder of the Geologic Survey of Canada tells CTV News Channel the quake occurred on the Fairweather Fault, also known as the Queen Charlotte Fault.
The Alaska area experiences a large amount of seismic activity due to the movement of the Pacific tectonic plate and the North American plate. In 1964, an earthquake centred near Prince William Sound in Alaska registered a magnitude of 9.2 — the second-largest ever recorded.
Mulder says there could be more aftershock quakes to come after Monday’s temblor.
There’s also the potential this earthquake could be a foreshock of a larger quake still to come, Mulder added.
“We won’t know until probably for the next week or two,” she said.