January meeting all about earthquakes

Staff writer
January 2, 2014 01:00 AM

Guest speaker Peter Hews will give a presentation entitled; Earthquakes in the Sunshine Coast area: past, present and future at the first meeting of 2014 for the Sunshine Coast Natural History Society.

The meeting is tonight, Friday, Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt. Refreshments will be served and new members are always welcome to attend.

The Pacific Northwest is seismically very active, since there are four tectonic plates meeting and interacting in the area. The enormous strain energies that can be stored by these interactions, are usually released by sudden plate movements, causing phenomena which we call earthquakes.

Canada's largest earthquake in more than 60 years struck off the coast of Haida Gwaii on Oct. 27, 2012, but thankfully did not produce a tsunami. There have been about 10 damaging earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest over the last 160 years.

Despite their rarity, relatively weak, shallow earthquakes should be more of a worry to residents of southern British Columbia than a megathrust quake that would probably take place many kilometres below the ocean floor and about 75 km off the B.C. or Washington Coast - these happen on average every 500 years.

Hews will discuss the evidence that was left behind after the last mega earthquake in 1700, which mostly affected the west coast of Vancouver Island as well as earthquakes that have occurred nearer to the Sunshine Coast.

Hews has been a geologist in the oil and gas industry for more than 35 years and is based in Calgary. His heart though is the Sunshine Coast area which he discovered about 20 years ago and has solemnly kept the secret from the rest of Alberta.

- Submitted

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