An earthquake registering 2.0 magnitude on the Richter scale happened 25 kilometres southeast of Victoria Saturday evening at 6:43 p.m. with its epicentre located in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (John Cassidy/Twitter)

An earthquake registering 2.0 magnitude on the Richter scale happened 25 kilometres southeast of Victoria Saturday evening at 6:43 p.m. with its epicentre located in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. (John Cassidy/Twitter)

Small earthquake reminds Greater Victorians that they live in active earthquake zone

Earthquake happened at 6:43 Saturday and registered magnitude 2.0 on the Richter Scale

The Strait of Juan de Fuca about 25 kilometres southeast of Victoria was the epicentre of an earthquake Saturday evening.

The earthquake recorded at 6:43 p.m. registered a magnitude 2.0 on the Richter scale and there were no reports of injuries or notable damage.

But John Cassidy, an earthquake seismologist with National Resources Canada, said on social media that the earthquake represents a “small, friendly and regular reminder” that Greater Victoria lies in an active earthquake zone. A background document from National Resources Canada notes that southwestern British Columbia lies above the boundary between the oceanic Juan de Fuca Plate and the continental North American Plate.

This boundary described as the Cascadia Subduction Zone spanning 1,000 km from northern Vancouver Island to northern California sees the Juan de Fuca Plate descending (or subducting) beneath the North American Plate at roughly the same rate as fingernails grow – about four centimetres per year.

These shifting plates build up stress and earthquakes happen when the stress releases itself along a zone of weakness called a fault, generating measurable seismic waves.

According to National Resources Canada, earthquakes in the subducting Juan de Fuca Plate have been the most frequent type of damaging earthquake in southwestern British Columbia, as evident by the 2001 earthquake that registered a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter Scale. Widely felt in Victoria and Vancouver, it caused $2 billion (2001 dollars) in damage after strongly shaking Seattle and the Puget Sound area.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com