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Fort St. John
Friday, December 14, 2018
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Scientists confirm pair of earthquakes that occurred in the B.C. Peace in the past few day

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Scientists with the Geological Survey of Canada have confirmed that at least two earthquakes have occurred in the B.C. Peace Region since late Sunday.

Earlier Monday, Moose FM received several reports of earthquakes that had been felt by area residents in the past 24 hours. The first earthquake reportedly occurred near Rose Prairie on Monday afternoon, while the second occurred near Farmington early Tuesday morning.

A map of all catalogued earthquakes in Western Canada, Alaska, and the Western United States in the past 30 days. Photo by Natural Resources Canada.

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Seismologist Dr. Honn Kao with the Survey’s Victoria office confirmed that seismometers picked up a number of seismic events that occurred in the region in the past several days below magnitude 4. He confirmed that a M2.8 tremor occurred at 4:25 Monday afternoon just 12 kilometres north-northeast of Fort St. John at a depth of only 4.7 kilometres. Another smaller but even shallower quake occurred 25 kilometres west-northwest of Dawson Creek at 7:21 p.m. Sunday. That quake had a magnitude of only 1.9, but a depth of only 3.3 kilometres.

Dr. Kao did not confirmed the other quake that reportedly occurred at around 6:45 Tuesday morning near Farmington, but that seismologists are still poring over data. He explained that earthquakes smaller than magnitude 4.0 are usually too small to be automatically pinpointed by the network seismographs in the Peace Region, meaning scientists don’t usually analyze such data immediately unless those smaller earthquakes are felt. 

Dr. Kao said that the shallow depth of the two confirmed quakes meant that scientists have alerted the BC Oil and Gas Commission to investigate whether there was any oil and gas industry activity occurring in the vicinity at the time of the quakes. At this point, there’s no word from the OGC about whether there was any industry activity occurring at the time.

A list and map of all catalogued earthquakes that have occurred in B.C. and Alberta in the past 30 days can be found here: http://www.earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca/recent/maps-cartes/index-en.php?maptype=30d&CHIS_SZ=bcwa

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