Earthquake rumbles Victoria

Epicentre was off northwest coast of Vancouver Island

Residents of Greater Victoria reported feeling tremors just as a magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook the west coast of Vancouver Island today.

The quake happened at 12:41 p.m., at two kilometres below the earth’s surface, according to Chris Duffy, director of operations for Emergency Management B.C. It was centred 80 kilometres south of Port Alice.

“Was felt fairly strongly in Port Alice area but there is no (reported) damage at this time,” Duffy said. “We have had reports up and down Vancouver Island and from coastal areas across B.C.”

Lindsay Vogan was working on the upper floor of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce in Langford when she felt the building sway for about 15 seconds.

“It felt like a boat rocking,” she said. “You had to be really still to notice it. I could see my lamp moving, so I knew something was happening.”

No one else in Vogan’s office felt the tremor, but she logged on Twitter and saw many other reports of people feeling the quake.

John Cassidy, earthquake seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, didn’t feel the shake in his Victoria office.

“Your more likely to feel it in high rise buildings,” he said, noting that may explain why there have been more reports of people feeling it in Vancouver than Victoria.

The quake was initially announced as magnitude 6.7, but that number was later revised to 6.4. Cassidy said there were several dozen aftershocks reported in the hour following the quake, the strongest being 4.9 magnitude.

“This magnitude earthquake is relatively common for the area … we expect one about every 10 years,” Cassidy said.

Simon Fraser University geologist Brent Ward said the quake likely originated from stress built up due to the oceanic Juan de Fuca plate subducting under the North American plate.

“This quake would have been most strongly felt in small communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island, such as Gold River and Zebalos, and possibly in Tofino and Ucluelet.”

The Tsunami Warning Centre said there is no risk of a tsunami in coastal areas of B.C.

-with files from Sam Van Schie and Jeff Nagel

ecardone@vicnews.com

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