More than a dozen moderate quakes off Vancouver Island over two days? What’s happening?


A moderate earthquake hit the ocean floor Friday morning off the coast of Vancouver Island, the largest of more than a dozen quakes over the past two days about 300 miles west of Bellingham.

Friday’s quake measured at magnitude 5.7 and was recorded at 9:34 a.m. about a mile below the ocean surface and at a depth of 6 miles below the ocean floor, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network.

No tsunami warning was issued and no damage was immediately reported, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“I doubt if anyone on Vancouver Island or anywhere felt any of these. It’s not something for people to worry about,” seismologist Harold Tobin told The Bellingham Herald in an interview.

Tobin is director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, which is part of the University of Washington.

He told The Herald that the quakes could be linked with the seafloor spreading of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, other nearby faults. It could also be an undersea volcano getting started.

“These are not on the Cascadia subduction zone, and we have no reason to think they are affecting the subduction fault at this time, Tobin said.

It’s thought that the Cascadia subduction zone could produce a massive quake that would devastate the Northwest.

Friday’s quake quake and others near it as associated with the growth of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, rather than the subduction zone.

“It piques people’s interest, for people who work in that field. These quakes are more than a mile under water. It’s not exactly in an easy part of the world to study. It’s not like we can just go out there and take a look,” he said.



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