Keiran's World World by word by word

Slip, slide and shimmy: Earthquakes on the West Coast

Royal Roads shoreline outside Esquimalt Lagoon. Photo © David Stanley via flickr and Creative Commons. www.southpacific.org

The year has begun amidst a series of earth-shaking events.

Three earthquakes were reported for the Vancouver Island region on January 2. The biggest, at magnitude 5.4, occurred 211 kilometres west of Port Hardy, while two smaller tremblers occurred west of Port Alberni. Five days later, a 4.8-magnitude quake west of Port Alice shook the coast.

They form part of a regional swarm of earthquakes that began late last year, as the tectonic plates beneath Vancouver Island released rock-bending pressure. To add perspective, about 4,000 earthquakes occur in B.C. every year. Of these, only a few—like the larger January quakes—are felt by people.

As solid as the ground beneath our feet seems, when the forces that shape the our planet’s surface start squeezing it, the granites, basalts and sedimentary rock on which our region’s municipalities are built take on the consistency and strength of something like fine, aged Cheddar….

 

Read the rest of this editorial at the Victoria Times Colonist….

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