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

Former Vernon man guilty of Japanese exchange student’s murder

Natsumi Kogawa was found at empty heritage mansion shortly after she was reported missing in 2016

West Kelowna high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mount Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault

Contenders to return for Okanagan tour

Valdy, Gary Fjellgaard and Blu and Kelly Hopkins will perform at six venues

Lake Country candidates reflect on previous council

This week’s question is what could have been done differently?

Arkells to perform in Kelowna as part of latest album tour

The rock and rollers are performing Feb. 5 at Prospera Place

Cough cough: Kelowna MLA gets flu shot to prep for the cold season

Steve Thomson got his flu shot from Lakeside Medicine Centre Friday

Watch it again: Kelowna mayoral candidates square off

Missing the LIVE Kelowna mayoral debate watch now

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

B.C. man accused of killing Belgian tourist along Highway 1 appears in court

Sean McKenzie, 27, made second court appearance since his arrest in connection with the murder of Amelie Sakkalis

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of B.C. girl

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

Most Read