A small 4.6 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Vancouver Island on Tuesday.
Earthquakes Canada reported that the tremor occurred sometime around 6am under the Pacific Ocean, about 200 kilometres west of Port Hardy. The agency added that a quake of that magnitude at that location would not be expected to cause any property damage or a tsunami.
Citing information from the Earthquakes Canada website, CTV News reported that it is “very unlikely” that a quake under magnitude 5 could cause damage, but less powerful quakes have been known to cause hanging lamps and other similar fixtures to swing.
The agency noted that there are more than 4,000 earthquakes recorded every year across Canada – 1,000 of those are reported in Western Canada. Of the 4,000 recorded quakes, only about 50 are actually felt by the public.
Earthquakes Canada also offered assurances that it is very rare for smaller tremors to immediately precede bigger, more devastating ones. However, the offshore quake still serves as a reminder that Canada is expecting the next “big one”; a megathrust earthquake which could hit at any time. Earthquakes Canada says megathrust earthquakes strike every 500 to 600 years on average, but there have been instances when the quakes occurred just 200 years apart.
The last megathrust earthquake occurred roughly 300 years ago.