POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

  • Mar. 19, 2019 3:30 p.m.

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.

Magnitude 4 or 5 earthquakes will likely wake you up, while a 7 will result in toppled bookcases and fallen chimneys. Thanks to B.C.’s stringent building code, structural collapse is not expected in magnitude 7s. Magnitude 8 or 9s have the same severity of shaking as a 7, but their duration lasts longer, often over 2 or 3 minutes. They cause structural building damage and ruptured gas lines, often causing fire.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island overdue for the big one

As well as this imminent quake, experts also see the potential for a magnitude 9 mega-thrust rupture earthquake too. These Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes happen every 200 to 800 years, and the last one occurred 300 years ago. If it hits magnitude 9, it will cause a tsunami, wreaking havoc on some coastal communities on the Island.

The last big Vancouver Island earthquake struck Courtenay in 1946 and measured 7.3 on the Richter scale. The GSC says quakes of this magnitude should happen every decade, so the Island is about 70 years overdue.

READ MORE: 200 tremors recorded near Vancouver Island due to ‘tectonic dance’

Take our poll and let us know when you think the next major earthquake will strike Vancouver Island.


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