British Columbia

Earthquake jolts Gulf Islands and Greater Victoria

Earthquakes Canada said there were no reports of damage from the quake, which has been classified as a magnitude 3.8 quake, which struck at 4:13 a.m. PT. 

Magnitude 3.8 quake struck early Friday, Earthquakes Canada says; many report shaking, banging

Earthquakes Canada said the epicentre of the quake, which measured magnitude 3.5, was below Galiano Island. (Earthquakes Canada)

A small earthquake rattled homes in B.C.'s Gulf Islands early Friday and was felt across Greater Victoria.

Earthquakes Canada said the quake struck at 4:13 a.m. PT.  Initial reports said the quake was around magnitude 3.5, but was later revised to 3.8.

There were no reports of damage. 

John Cassidy, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, said the quake's epicentre was right beneath Galiano Island, about 12 kilometres northeast of Ganges on Salt Spring Island. 

The depth of the earthquake was quite substantial, Cassidy said, around 15 to 20 kilometres below the surface.

"Even if you were on Galiano right at the epicentre, right above that earthquake, it was still 15 to 20 kilometres away from you," Cassidy said. 

"You have that distance that absorbs energy and makes the shaking less severe than [something] right at the surface." 

A big jolt and a loud bang

Salt Spring Island resident Mairi Welman said she and her husband were awoken by a big jolt and a loud bang. 

"It felt like a big truck had hit the house. We jumped out of bed and my husband thought maybe a tree had fallen in the house ... and then we realized that it was an earthquake," said Welman. 

"Here in Sidney there was a sudden deep noise accompanied by a shudder as if a large vehicle had struck the building," Martha Scott wrote in an email to CBC. 

Irene Crampton, from North Saanich, told CBC, "there was a loud thunder-like rumble, shaking and creaking ... definitely a reminder to renew earthquake supplies." 

Many people reported feeling shaking on social media.

Cassidy said around 1,000 reports have been submitted from various people who felt the quake and if you would like to report your own experience, you can visit the Earthquakes Canada website to report what you felt.

Small earthquakes like this one are a great tool to understand how a potentially larger earthquake could happen, he says. 

"We do take advantage of these small ones by learning as much as we can about causes of the earthquakes, where's the faults, where is the energy being stored, and how often earthquakes have occurred in the past," he said. 

Getting prepared for the 'big one'

As for whether this quake is a precursor to the "big one," he says that's not the case.

"In this area, earthquakes small or large could happen at any time whether a small one like today's has happened," he said. 

"Today's event is a good reminder that this is an active earthquake zone."

Cassidy recommends visiting the Shake Out B.C. website for more information on what to do before, during and after an earthquake. 

With files from All Points West

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