British Columbia

Map shows which areas of Vancouver face most damage in an earthquake

A map released by the City of Vancouver highlights areas that would see the most severe damage during a significant earthquakee. Officials released the map in preparation for the 2019 Great British Columbia ShakeOut drill.

Chinatown, Kitsilano, South Granville and West End would be hardest hit, map shows

Students take cover under desks during the annual Great ShakeUut safety drill at Irvine Elementary School in Port Coquitlam, B.C., on Oct. 17. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A map released by the City of Vancouver highlights areas that would see the most severe damage during a significant earthquake.

The map was produced as part of the city's ongoing investments to assess earthquake risk and upgrade infrastructure.

It shows a magnitude 7.3 earthquake would cause the most damage to Vancouver's older, multi-family residential and commercial areas.

Chinatown, Kitsilano, South Granville and the West End would be hit the hardest, with pockets of damage also highlighted in the Point Grey, Strathcona, Mount Pleasant and Marpole areas.

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The map also shows that much of the southern half of Vancouver would see limited damage, although a statement from the city said disruption from such a powerful shake would be felt city-wide.

City officials released the map in preparation for the 2019 Great British Columbia ShakeOut drill, held Thursday morning.

"During an earthquake, the best thing you can do is drop, cover, and hold on,'' read a city statement.

The drill is designed to encourage all British Columbians to practise their response to an earthquake and assess emergency preparedness.

Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid said beyond participating in the drill, everyone should be prepared.

"Know the risks, make a plan and have the emergency supplies you need to get by so first responders can prioritize life-saving calls,'' said Reid.

Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid, right, speaks alongside Mayor Kennedy Stewart during a news conference about earthquake awareness in Vancouver on Oct. 16. The Great British Columbia ShakeOut drill will take place across the province on Oct. 17 at 10:17 a.m. PT. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The area of greatest risk in B.C. is along the Cascadia subduction zone, a fault running from northern Vancouver Island to northern California that separates the North American tectonic plate and the Juan de Fuca plate west of Vancouver Island.

Earthquake analysts say the Juan de Fuca plate is skidding below the North American plate, creating the potential for a major slip along the fault line, which would trigger a powerful earthquake.

B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth hides under a desk with students during the annual Great ShakeOut safety drill at Irvine Elementary School in Port Coquitlam, B.C., on Oct. 17. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The B.C. government's earthquake and tsunami guide says quakes powerful enough to cause structural damage happen in the province on an average of once per decade.

The province said there have been four large quakes in the area since a devastating magnitude 9.0 temblor in 1700, including a 7.8 earthquake that caused significant damage across Haida Gwaii in 2012.

Fault Lines, a CBC original podcast, explores the potentially catastrophic effects of a massive earthquake on the West Coast of North America. Hosted by CBC senior meteorologist and seismology expert Johanna Wagstaffe, Fault Lines outlines emergency preparedness procedures and features an enactment of how this predicted natural disaster will impact British Columbians in the 24 hours, 72 hours, one month, one year following — and beyond.

Fault Lines is available for download at cbc.ca/podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

 

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