Update: No aftershocks expected after Shuswap earthquake

Shuswap Emergency Program alerted but no damage reported

Update 11:30 a.m. March 3:

According to an expert in geoscience, the earthquake which caused a stir in the Shuswap on Saturday, March 2 is not likely to result in aftershocks.

Taimi Mulder, an Earthquake Seismologist working for the Geological Survey of Canada which is a part of Natural Resources Canada, said aftershocks are not generally observed following a quake of this size.

“You can never rule anything out, Mother Nature has her own rules,” Mulder said.

According to Mulder, the earthquake was detected by multiple monitoring stations, the nearest of which was in Lillooet. She said the station in Penticton out of operation for maintenance.

Read More: Magnitude 4.5 earthquake reported off Vancouver Island

Mulder, based at the Pacific Geoscience Centre in Sidney B.C., said the Juan De Fuca Plate, located off the west coast of Southern B.C. and the Northwestern United states, is slowly subducting or sliding beneath the North American Plate. She said the subduction creates stress in the North American Plate and small inland earthquakes sometimes result as the plate readjusts itself.

According to Shuswap Emergency Program spokesperson Tracy Hughes the emergency program was monitoring the situation after the tremor was felt on March 2.

“Members of the Salmon Arm fire department investigated, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. This meant there was no need for us to launch any further activation of emergency services,” Hughes said.

Mulder said although Saturday night’s earthquake was not powerful enough to cause damage it is a good opportunity to review preparedness for natural disasters. In a serious earthquake people should seek shelter beneath a piece of furniture and hold on tight. Other precautions people can take include securing large shelving units to walls, storing heavy objects on bottom shelves and avoiding placing heavy wall hangings above beds.

Update 7:40 a.m. March 3:

According to Earthquakes Canada, on of their monitoring stations detected an earthquake four kilometres Northeast of Salmon Arm at 8:39 p.m. Saturday night.

The monitoring equipment picked up a 2.2 magnitude earthquake originating a kilometre below the earth’s surface. According to Earthquakes Canada’s website, no damage was reported and none would be expected from a quake of this size.

Original Story:

At approximately 8:45 p.m. on March 2, something shook homes from Sicamous to Tappen and alarmed residents, though no confirmation has yet to come in as to what exactly happened.

Initial conversations on the scanner said an explosion was reported at 16 Avenue NE in Salmon Arm; fire and ambulance crews responded but found nothing at the scene. Social media indicated multiple calls were made to RCMP, who reported nothing conclusive, and CP Rail dispatchers were reported contacting train crews to see if anything could be reported.

Dispatchers updated over the scanner at approximately 8:15 p.m. updating that ground shaking was felt in many areas.

At approximately 10 p.m., Shuswap Emergency Program stated there have been widespread reports of the explosion but nothing has yet been found.

“Officials are still investigating the situation, but at this time, 9:50 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, there has been nothing found. Currently, our emergency management has not been activated. We will report back as soon as we know more information,” states the SEP Facebook page.

SEP also says Sicamous Fire Department is reporting no indication of any unusual activity or emergency within their boundaries.

Read More: Earthquake early warning sensors installed off coast of B.C

While social media conversations suggested a small earthquake may have occurred, the Seismogram in Lillooet reported no activity at the time of the shake.

The suggested cause of the event that shook homes in the area are various on social media, from a sonic boom resulting from a low-flying jet plane to a possible meteor. A post in the Vernon Rant and Rave Facebook page reports seeing a large shooting star or possible meteor at the approximate time the shaking was felt.

As of yet, none of this has been confirmed by authorities however, and no injuries or property damage has been reported.

Read More: Meteorite fragments found in the Kootenays


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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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