Cracked windows, shaking reported after High Arctic earthquake and aftershock

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake and aftershock caused minor damage in the High Arctic.

5.1 magnitude aftershock followed in wake of 5.9 magnitude quake on Sunday

A 5.1 magnitude aftershock occurred about 100 kilometres from Resolute, Nunavut, at 11:55 CT on Monday. (Submitted by Greg Wentworth)

A few cracked windows seem to be the only damage from the 5.9 magnitude earthquake and 5.1 magnitude aftershock that hit Resolute.

The earthquake hit at 5:45 p.m. local time on Sunday.

"The earthquake felt like it was going on forever and our house seemed like it was going to slide. I was lying on the couch watching TV — it was as if was the couch was going to slide too," said Saroomie Manik, CBC's community reporter in Inuktitut.

Paul Legacy, the maintenance manager with the Housing Association in Resolute, says he felt the shaking for "a little bit, then it got a little bit worse for 10 or 15 seconds."

"Things were moving around in my house, pictures were crooked all over the wall. I did get a call from one tenant. She thought it was her furnace but she told me it was knocking everything off her walls too," he said.

"There's a few cracked windows and a couple of broken drains that I'm repairing."

He was out checking for structural damages, just in case there was more damage than people initially noticed.

Once in 300 years

Nicholas Ackerley, seismic analyst at Natural Resources Canada, said the damage from an earthquake of that size could have been worse if the earthquake was closer to the community. He works from the seismic hazard model the organization produces every five years. The most recent was completed in 2015.

"According to that model, an event of this size gets produced once in 300 years, so in that sense, it's exceptional," Ackerley said.

In the southern part of Canada it would have been expected to produce some significant damange,- Nicholas Ackerley, seismic analyst

"In the southern part of Canada it would be been expected to produce some significant damage, but as Resolute was some 80 kilometres away, our expectation is there is light damage there if any," he said.

The aftershock that happened at noon local time Monday was expected, he said. It was a magnitude 5.1, meaning it was nearly 10 times smaller than the initial quake. Ackerley said the aftershocks will taper off with time and keep getting smaller.

This is not the first quake in the area. There was a 5.2 magnitude quake in 1987 and in 2008 a smaller 4.6 magnitude quake that was only 18 kilometres away from the Resolute, so it was more strongly felt, Ackerley said.

Earthquakes that happen in this area are largely due to pressure put on the earth's plates from glaciers that receded thousands of years ago. The last of this pressure is still being released, Ackerley said.

In times of earthquakes, Ackerley said the important things to remember are to drop, cover and hold. Get down, get under something and wait for the shaking to stop.

(Earthquakes Canada)

with files from Salome Awa