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TitleEarthquakes in southwestern British Columbia
AuthorBird, A L
SourceBase Operations March 31, 2008 p. 2
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20070610
PublisherNewsletter of Canadian Forces Base at Esquimalt
ProvinceBritish Columbia
NTS92; 102I; 102P
AreaSouthwestern British Columbia; Victoria; Vancouver; Southwestern British Columbia; Victoria; Vancouver
Lat/Long WENS-130.0000 -120.0000 52.0000 48.0000
Subjectsgeophysics; tectonics; geophysics; educational geology; earthquakes; earthquake studies; earthquake risk; earthquake catalogues; earthquake magnitudes; earthquake foci; seismographs; seismological network; seismology; health hazards; earthquakes; earthquake damage; earthquake magnitudes; earthquake risk; earthquake studies; seismology; Cascadia Subduction Zone; Juan de Fuca Plate; Canadian National Seismograph Network; natural hazards; geohazards
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs; block diagrams
ProgramCanadian Hazard Information Service
AbstractThe west coast of British Columbia accommodates all three major types of plate boundary. Most dramatically, the 1000km-long Cascadia Subduction Zone, approximately 150 km west of Vancouver Island, is where the oceanic Juan de Fuca Plate subducts beneath the North American Plate. This is the most seismically hazardous area in the country, including a history of megathrust earthquakes, plus more frequent strong earthquakes within the two plates. The pressure from this locked plate interface causes the 30km-thick North American Plate to bend, inducing earthquakes as large as 7.5; the highest source of hazard in the region is based on such earthquakes, particularly those occuring close to population centres. Large earthquakes (magnitude ~7) can also occur within the Juan de Fuca Plate as it bends during its subduction beneath North America.

Due to the active tectonics and resulting, daily earthquakes of British Columbia, earthquake seismologists and emergency managers rely on cohesive communication to respond effectively and efficiently. Several earthquakes are felt by BC citizens every year; Natural Resources Canada works together with emergency programmes to provide emergency services, the press and public with timely, accurate information. By responding to these earthquakes together, protocols are honed and liaisons are developed, putting the agencies in good stead for the larger, damaging earthquakes which threaten this region.