by Britt Santowski – Sooke News Mirror
posted Apr 30, 2014
Did you feel that last earthquake on Wednesday night last week?
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (emsc-csem.org) reported a 6.5 earthquake on northern Vancouver Island last week. Its epicentre was 85 km south-southwest of Port Alice.
Witness accounts on the EMSC detail the shakedown. “Was having a second glass of wine — thought, at first, that I better not have any more,” recorded one witness about 30 km away from the epicentre, “then realized that it was an earthquack [sic] — (better stop the wine) — lasted about ten to fifteen seconds.”
According to EarthquakesCanada.nrcan.gc.ca’s Community Interest Intensity Map, the earthquake was felt, albeit weakly, as far away as Kamloops and Kelowna.
This recent shakeup might have you thinking about your own emergency preparedness. Some of you might be smug in your existing, excellent preparedness; some might be updating your kits; and others might be wondering where to start.
Fire Chief Steve Sorensen provided a few excellent words of wisdom the day after the earthquake.
His first piece of advise was on how to assess the possibility of a tsunami.
“If the ground in Sooke shakes hard enough that you can’t stand up, this is your warning that a tsunami may be coming. Persons should evacuate all low lying areas immediately following the shaking and move to higher ground,” advised Sorensen. He added that the recommended safe-from-tsunami height in Sooke area is four metres above normal sea level.
You can find out the sea level of any particular address using Google Earth (as opposed to Google Maps), a free downloadable application.
“If a major earthquake occurs in the Cascadia Fault (the big one), the wave would be expected to hit Sooke in approximately 55 minutes,” advised Sorensen.
Jeri Grant, the Juan de Fuca (JdF) emergency coordinator, offered up an Earthquake 101. The recent earthquake happened on the Nookta fault zone. This resulted in a side-to-side shifting, which does not cause the land to thrust up. The Nootka fault experiences an earthquake about once in 10 years. The Cascadia fault, which runs from Alaska down to northern California, will result in a “subduction, or mega thrust” quake. If that were to happen, Grant informed us, there would be a substantial quake lasting two to three minutes.