New Brunswick

McAdam hit by 51 small earthquakes since Feb. 12

The McAdam area in southwestern New Brunswick has been hit by 48 very small earthquakes since mid-February, according to a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada.

Dozens of quakes were reported over a period of a few weeks, the largest having a magnitude of 3.7

The swarm of earthquakes in the McAdam area have largely subsided. (Natural Resources Canada)

The McAdam area in southwestern New Brunswick has been hit by 51 very small earthquakes since mid-February, according to a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada.

That's when Stephen Halchuk arrived in the village with seismometers, on the heels of reports of dozens of quakes over a period of a few weeks, the largest having a magnitude of 3.7. 

Stephen Halchuk, a seismologist with Natural resources Canada, says the McAdam earthquakes are likely caused by a very small fault. (CBC)
Halchuk said the largest quake since then had a magnitude of 1.8 and all were within the top kilometre of the Earth's crust, with at least 10 quakes felt by residents.

Though still unclear about what exactly is going on underground to cause the quakes, Halchuk said he believes it must be some small structure that's relieving stress, as the earth's plates move slowly past each other.

"The stress gets built up across the North American plate and gets relieved in the form of small earthquakes. So there must be some small structure here that's allowing that stress to be released," Halchuk said.

Some residents had cracked windows as a result of recent earthquakes. (CBC)
Mayor Frank Carroll said the village has been relatively quiet for the last week and a half, though there are still some rumblings. The Earthquakes Canada website lists the last felt quake on Feb. 24 and the last earthquake that registered was on Feb. 27.

The equipment will remain in the village for another couple of months and Halchuk said he hopes to pinpoint the fault source and understand what triggers an earthquake swarm.

He said he thinks it unlikely there will be large damaging quakes in the area, but can't rule out that possibility.

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