Minor earthquake rumbles region around Peace River

Just after midnight Monday, a minor earthquake registering 3.3 on the Richter scale was felt in the vicinity of Peace River, Alta.
A minor earthquake was reported in the Peace River region just after midnight on Tuesday. (Google Maps)

A minor earthquake was felt in the vicinity of Peace River just after midnight on Tuesday but caused no damage.

According to the national seismic network stations operated by Natural Resources Canada,  the quake was registered at 12:30 a.m. and was felt by a resident who reported  "a loud rumbling sound and shaking/trembling (for about four seconds.)"

The cause of the quake hasn't been determined but  Dr. John Cassidy, head of the earthquake seismology section at Natural Resources Canada said there are both natural earthquakes and others that are induced by mining or construction blasts.   

"Determining the most likely cause requires an accurate earthquake location (and depth) and information on ongoing industrial/human activities in the region," Cassidy said in an email.

He said the Peace River area earthquake is considered "minor" and would likely be felt, but not normally result in damage. 

'There is no indication it is linked to this seismic event'

The Alberta Energy Regulator also tracks seismic activity through its network of stations across Alberta.

AER spokesperson Carrie Rosa said in an email the Peace River area isn't known for earthquakes,.

Since 1984, 11 seismic events registering 3.2 or higher have occurred in the area, with the largest earthquake happening in 2001, registering a magnitude of 5.4.

"Hydraulic fracturing isn't commonly used in the Peace River area and there is currently no indication it is linked to this seismic event," Rosa said.

The AER and Alberta Geological Survey have catalogued the history of seismic activity in Alberta. A study of the causes of earthquakes in the province is underway.

"More recently, clusters of earthquakes in previously seismically quiet areas near Cardston and Fox Creek have been tentatively linked to hydraulic fracturing operations," the organizations say on their website.