British Columbia has a history as Canada’s hub of seismic activity, with fully half of the country’s top 10 temblors taking place in that province. Here are the five most significant earthquakes to hit the area:
1700: When a quake believed to have a magnitude of nine rolled through B.C.’s Cascadia Subduction Zone, the technology didn’t exist to document it thoroughly. But the tsunami generated by the temblor was chronicled in Japan, placing the exact date on Jan. 26. First Nations folklore suggests the tsunami destroyed an entire village on Vancouver Island’s Pachena Bay, leaving no survivors.
1946: Chaos reigned on Vancouver Island when a 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck on Jun. 23, killing two people. There were reports of extensive property damage as chimneys toppled and building facades crumbled. The quake also triggered landslides across the central part of the island.
1949: On Aug. 22, Canada registered its largest earthquake since Confederation when a magnitude 8.1 tremor struck along the Queen Charlotte Fault (Canada’s closest equivalent to the infamous San Andreas Fault in California). Although the quake was felt as far north as the Yukon, the sparse population of the affected area meant there were no casualties.
1970: The Queen Charlotte Fault struck again on Jun. 24, causing a magnitude 7.4 quake to hit the offshore Haida Gwaii region. Once again there were no fatalities.
2012: When a 7.7-magnitude temblor rolled through the Haida Gwaii region on Oct. 27, it was felt across most of north-central B.C. including Prince Rupert and Quesnel. The earthquake triggered tsunami warnings and serious social media chatter, but resulted in little property damage and no known fatalities.
Source: Earthquakes Canada