Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Magnitude 5 Quebec quake

I was out of town when this one hit near the Canada-U.S. border:

From the USGS:
The June 23, 2010 Val-des-Bois, Quebec earthquake occurred at 1:42 pm local (eastern) time 56 km (35 miles) north of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital city. The preliminary estimate of magnitude (M) is 5.0, at a depth of 16 km (10 miles).

This earthquake occurred near the southern edge of the Western Quebec Seismic Zone. Earthquakes within this zone are mostly small. They tend to cluster in a wide area that is slightly elongated northwest-southeast. Historically, earthquakes in the Western Quebec Seismic Zone have caused damage roughly once a decade. Three or four smaller events each year are felt in the region but are generally too small to cause damage. Still smaller earthquakes are much more common. The largest earthquakes known in this part of Canada occurred in 1935 (M6.1), about 250 km (150 miles) to the northwest of the Val-des-Bois event, and in 1732 (M6.2), about 150 km (100 miles) to the east of the earthquake. The 1732 earthquake caused significant damage in Montreal.
I heard of one Toronto resident who literally felt her bed rolling back and forth. A colleague in Syracuse felt the earth shake as well. This intensity map from the event shows that she was not alone:

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