British Columbia

Magnitude 4.3 earthquake strikes near Queen Charlotte Village

A small earthquake has struck 88 km south of the Village of Queen Charlotte in Haida Gwaii according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Earthquakes Canada and U.S. Geological Survey downgrade earlier estimates of magnitudes 4.8 and 5.0

Earthquakes Canada and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have downgraded the originally reported magnitude of the earthquake near the Village of Queen Charlotte. The USGS now puts the magnitude at 4.3 on the Richter scale. (earthquaketrack.com)

A small earthquake has struck 88 km south of the Village of Queen Charlotte in Haida Gwaii according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Initially the two major earthquake measuring services, the U.S. Geological Survey and Earthquakes Canada put the magnitudes of the early Sunday afternoon quake at 5.0 and 4.8 respectively.

However, by late Sunday afternoon, both estimates were downgraded with the USGS settling on magnitude 4.3. 

The earthquake struck at a depth of 19 km around 1:10 p.m. PT according to both earthquake reporting services.

Earthquakes Canada says early reports indicate the quake was not widely felt and there is no danger of a tsunami.

Earthquake latest in a series

Sunday's shaker is the latest in a series of recent quakes to strike the B.C. coast including a magnitude 4.8 earthquake near Tofino, B.C. Jan 7 that, unlike this one, was widely felt, rattling homes and causing lamps to sway in the Tofino area.

The previous week on Jan 2 and 3rd separate earthquakes of magnitudes 5.2 and 4.5 were reported 200 km off the coast of Port Hardy. Like today's earthquake, neither of these was widely felt.

A swarm of five earthquakes also struck further west of Port Hardy in late December, at depths ranging from 10 to 22 km.

According to the Geological Survey of Canada, these clusters are larger than normal, but not unusual, nor do they effectively increase the risk of the "big one."

Seismologists say these quakes are occurring within the overriding North America plate, although, these smaller quakes can occasionally be damaging because of their shallower depth.

Experts say the so-called "big one," a damaging megathrust earthquake, will occur within the Juan de Fuca plate which has become stuck trying to move under the North American plate — a completely different location than where the current earthquakes are occurring.

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)

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