7.1-magnitude Alaska earthquake no direct link to BC, says seismologist

Both B.C. and Alaska are located along the Pacific "Ring of Fire" but it doesn't mean a recent Alaskan earthquake has anything to do with our province says seismologist.

Seismologist John Cassidy says Alaskan quake on different fault system than B.C.

Boxes of cereal and bottles of juice lie on the floor of a Safeway grocery store following a magnitude 6.8 earthquake on the Kenai Peninsula in south-central Alaska on Sunday. (Vincent Nusunginya via the AP)

A seismologist says residents in B.C. do not need to be afraid but should be prepared after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Alaska early Sunday morning, .

John Cassidy from Natural Resources Canada said the earthquake that took place in the northern state was similar to the one that took place in B.C. in December 2015, however, they are unrelated.

"They're different fault systems, there's not a direct link," said Cassidy. "We wouldn't expect to see any earthquakes here that would be related to that earthquake."

The Alaskan quake hit at about 2:30 a.m. PT and was centred 83 kilometres east of Anchor Point and 250 kilometres southwest of Anchorage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In the community of Kenai, four homes were destroyed and an entire neighbourhood had to be evacuated after a gas leak was reported.

The earthquake struck about 1:30 a.m. Alaska time and was centred 83 kilometres east of Anchor Point and 250 kilometresw southwest of Anchorage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (Google maps)

Cassidy said the tectonic setting of the Alaskan quake reminded him of B.C.'s recent quake because an ocean plate was again being pushed beneath a continent.

Despite the number of smaller earthquakes that have been reported throughout the Pacific Northwest, including a 4.5-magnitude quake near Vancouver Island on January 19, the seismologist described it as normal activity.

"There have been a few earthquakes in the past few weeks but it's not really unusual over the course of the year. Sometimes we get little clusters of earthquakes in different areas."

He said the shaking in Alaska should serve as another reminder that B.C. is in an active seismic zone and since you can't predict earthquakes, residents should be prepared with survival kits.

Both B.C. and Alaska are located along a zone bordering the Pacific Ocean where 90 per cent of the world's earthquakes take place.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.