Magnitude 4.8 earthquake rattles western Vancouver Island

Denise Titian, January 24, 2020

(US Geological Survey map)

Ucluelet, BC — 

A magnitude 4.8 rattled windows and furniture all along the west coast of Vancouver Island Friday afternoon.

Information from the USGS indicates that the earthquake struck at 1:35 p.m. local time. Its epicenter was 46.7 kilometres southeast of Ucluelet, B.C. at a depth of 20 kilometres. No tsunami alert was issued due the size and location of the earthquake, according to Emergency Info BC.

Buildings and furniture rattled for a few seconds in Port Alberni. Ehattesaht member Kyle Harry reported that residents near Zeballos felt the shaking.

The same was the case at the southern end of Nuu-chah-nulth territory.

“My whole house shook,” reports Darrell Jones of Port Renfrew.

Dr. John Cassidy, a seismologist for the government of Canada, told Ha-Shilth-Sa that the quake occurred  south of Bamfield and was felt across Vancouver Island. He believes that it occurred in a place in the ocean where one plate is diving beneath the North American Plate.

“It was not on the subduction fault that runs from the west coast of Vancouver Island down to California,” said Dr. Cassidy. He said they will need to wait for more accurate information to come in but he indicated that this is not the type of quake that means ‘the big one’ is here.

“We can expect some aftershocks in the coming hours and coming days – but they most likely won’t be felt,” he said, adding this is the usual pattern for this type of quake.