British Columbia

Magnitude 3.5 earthquake off Vancouver Saturday felt by residents

It turns out the earth did move on Valentine's Day, but it wasn't all romance.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude 3.5 earthquake 12 km west of Vancouver Saturday night. (

It turns out the earth did move on Valentine's Day, but it wasn't all romance.

Just after 8 p.m. PT. a small 3.5 magnitude earthquake struck 12 km west of Vancouver and was felt by some residents in the Lower Mainland, along the Sunshine Coast and as far away as Squamish.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake at a depth of 10 km.

There were no reports of injuries or damage, but the City of Vancouver took advantage of the situation to tweet out a reminder to be prepared.  

In Squamish, Bonnie Nicol tweeted that it felt like a punch. To staff at the London Drugs in Gibsons, it felt like a truck driving by.

Earthquakes Canada says the Pacific Coast is the most earthquake-prone region in Canada. Each year seismologists record and locate more than 1,000 earthquakes, most of them too small to be felt.

During the last 70 years, more than 100 earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or greater have been recorded — some large enough to cause damage had they been closer to land.

Scientists say the earth's crust is made up of plates that move about as fast as a fingernail grows. These plates can slide past one another, run into each other, or diverge and move apart.

Natural Resources Canada says B.C.'s Pacific coast is one of the few regions of the world where all three types of plate movement are taking place.

In this graphic, provided by CBC metereologist Johanna Wagstaffe, the Juan de Fuca plate is moving toward and riding under the North America plate. Wagstaffe says earthquakes on the North American plate are in a completely different location from the Juan de Fuca plate. (CBC)
Seismologists say quakes like Saturday's in the offshore zone where plates are sliding by each other are not related to or likely to cause the so-called, "big one,"  

That earthquake is predicted to take place on an entirely different plate deep within the subduction zone further offshore where the Juan de Fuca plate is sliding under the North America plate.


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