Rare 4.5-magnitude earthquake shakes Fort Good Hope — even if no one felt it

Edna Tobac, who lives in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., says she didn’t feel it herself, but the dogs were riled up on Thursday morning and afternoon.

Dogs were 'agitated' in the area twice on Thursday, says resident Edna Tobac

The Mackenzie Valley Winter Road between Norman Wells and Fort Good Hope, N.W.T. An earthquake hit the region Thursday, about 95 kilometres from Fort Good Hope. (John Last/CBC)

There was a rare 4.5-magnitude earthquake near Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., on Thursday.

The quake hit the area at around 10:33 a.m., followed by an aftershock around 2:12 p.m.

Edna Tobac, who lives in Fort Good Hope, says she didn't feel it herself, but the dogs were riled up on Thursday morning and afternoon.

"There was some dogs in the community, like I noticed quite a few of them were barking and like agitated because well they would sense it," she said.

Tobac experienced a big earthquake before, when she was visiting Anchorage, Alaska. This one was quite different, she said but surprising nonetheless.

In that immediate area we don't see a huge number of earthquakes.- John Cassidy , earthquake seismologist

"It's quite significant. I experienced 5.5 I believe and like, you know, that literally shook the chair I was sitting in," she laughed.

John Cassidy, an earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada based in Victoria, said the earthquake was about 95 kilometres from Fort Good Hope.

"In that immediate area we don't see a huge number of earthquakes," Cassidy said, but he added that it's not unheard of.

"But they tend to be years apart, not days or months. So it's a relatively rare event."

He said to the west, the Richardson Mountains near the Yukon/Northwest Territories border see a lot of activity, as well as to the southwest in the Mackenzie Mountains, which he called a "seismic hotspot" in Canada.

Dogs may have felt it

Though Cassidy hasn't had any reports of the earthquake being felt, he said a 4.5 is strong enough to feel a good shake near the epicentre.

"[It] isn't big enough to cause any sort of damage to a building or to structures, but you know it would certainly be felt and you would feel shaking for maybe five five seconds or 10 seconds," he said.

Cassidy said if a person, or dog, were lying or sitting still and quietly, they might also feel it.

"If a dog was lying on the floor, you know there is a chance that they would detect these waves that humans might not notice if they're moving around or doing something."

Written by Katherine Barton, based on interviews by Lawrence Nayally and Peter Sheldon


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.