B.C. has history of big earthquakes

Classroom at Courtenay elementary school hit by a collapsing chimney in 1946

VICTORIA – Friday’s earthquake off Japan was a test for B.C.’s tsunami alert system, with beaches and coastal areas briefly evacuated and on alert for several hours.

It was also the latest in a long series of devastating events on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

Geological evidence indicates there have been 13 great earthquakes in the last 6,000 years. One of the biggest in world history was the Cascadia megathrust event on the B.C. coast on Jan. 26, 1700, which sent a huge tsunami with impacts that can still be seen in Japan.

Japanese records confirm oral histories of First Nations people on Vancouver Island, which describe multiple landslides, prolonged shaking so violent people couldn’t stand up, and the tsunami’s destruction of the winter village of the Pachena Bay people with no survivors.

More recently, there have been four earthquakes of magnitude seven or higher in the past 130 years in southwest B.C. and northern Washington State, according to Natural Resources Canada’s Earth Sciences Centre.

Canada’s largest earthquake since 1700 was the magnitude 8.1 event on the Queen Charlotte Fault on Aug. 22, 1949. It damaged buildings on Haida Gwaii and in Terrace, and was felt as far away as Seattle.

The boundary between the Pacific and North American plates runs underwater along the west coast of Haida Gwaii, and is B.C.’s equivalent of the San Andreas Fault in California.

Provincial emergency officials advise B.C. residents to prepare for earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Schools and offices participated in an earthquake exercise in January, focused on taking cover under desks or tables when shaking starts. Do not stand in doorways or attempt to get outside initially, but wait for shaking to subside before evacuating on a pre-planned route.

At home, people should assemble an emergency kit with enough non-perishable food and water to last three days.

Other items should include prescription medicines, a first aid kit, whistle, a portable radio and flashlight with extra batteries, tools and a waterproof container with matches and money.

Just Posted

Raising awareness about Cystic Fibrosis through a movie

B.C. mother shares the story of her child suffering from the fatal genetic disease

SD91 and UNBC held a workshop where students discussed community stressors

Youth voices are important and need to be heard, says UNBC researcher

BC Search and Rescue Association receives $18.6 million in funding

Largest injection of funds in the history of Ground SAR, says BCSARA secretary Chris Mushumanski

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read