Early morning earthquake shakes up Montreal

Earthquakes Canada says the 3.3 magnitude quake struck at 3:22 a.m. The epicentre was located nine kilometres northeast of downtown Montreal, at a depth of 12 kilometres.

Residents describe short, intense shaking around 3:22 a.m.

Earthquakes Canada said the epicentre of the 3.3 magnitude quake was here, approximately nine kilometres northeast of downtown Montreal. (Earthquakes Canada)

Some residents in the Montreal region were jolted awake early this morning by a small earthquake.

Earthquakes Canada says the 3.3 magnitude quake struck at 3:22 a.m. The epicentre was located about nine kilometres northeast of downtown Montreal.

"It did occur right under the island of Montreal, toward the east end of the island," Nick Ackerley, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada told CBC's Daybreak. "It was widely felt."

Many people took to social media, saying it felt like a small, brief explosion.

Watch as McGill University geologist, Yajing Liu, explains Montreal earthquakes: 

Montreal earthquakes

2 years ago
Duration 2:01
A magnitude 3.3 earthquake was registered in the Montreal area on March 6. A geologist answers burning questions on the natural phenomenon.

It's not uncommon for small earthquakes to be loud, especially when they're that close, Ackerley explained.

"There's two things that are happening. One is that the seismic waves travel from the rupture underground toward you," he said.

When those waves hit the surface, they turn into sound, he said. That would explain why so many people reported hearing a loud noise. Shaking is usually the symptom of a larger earthquake that's more likely to cause damage.

"We have a lot of magnitude-three earthquakes in Canada, every year, all the time," he said. 

"The thing that's a little bit unusual is for it to happen right under an urban area, so that lots of people feel it."

If you felt the earthquake, you can report the intensity in your area to Earthquakes Canada here.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?