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Updated: Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:22:21 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

B.C. earthquake: 6.6 magnitude quake hits near Port Alice



Map shows the location of the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Wednesday 40 kms southwest of Port Alice at a depth of 22 kms. The earthquake was initially reported at 6.7 magnitude, but the USGS National Earthquake Information Centre later changed the scale of the quake to 6.6. CBC

Map shows the location of the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Wednesday 40 kms southwest of Port Alice at a depth of 22 kms. The earthquake was initially reported at 6.7 magnitude, but the USGS National Earthquake Information Centre later changed the scale of the quake to 6.6. CBC

A 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck Wednesday night shortly after 8 p.m. PT. The epicentre was located 40 kilometres southwest of Port Alice, according to the Pacific Tsunami InformationCentre.

The earthquake was initially reported at 6.7 magnitude, but the USGS National Earthquake Information Centre later changed the scale of the quake to 6.6.

The epicentre had a depth of 11 kilometres, according to USGS. The Pacific Tsunami Information Centre initially reported it to be 22 kilometres.

Although the earthquake was powerful enough to generate a local tsunami, the risk of one was quickly ruled out.

'The windows started rattling'

People from as far away as Kelowna, B.C., about 575 kilometres from the epicentre, reported feeling buildings sway. Within an hour of the quake, more than 400 people also reported feeling it to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In downtown Vancouver some residents in high rises said they felt their building sway. Others in homes reported swinging chandeliers.

In Port Hardy, about 89 kilometres northeast of the earthquake's epicentre, Deputy Fire Chief Brent Borg said there happened to be a meeting at the fire hall when the earthquake struck.

"The windows started rattling, the walls started rattling and one of the lieutenants says, 'Did we just have an earthquake?'" he told CBC News.

Borg said one of the local firefighters phoned in to say he had some pictures rattle off his mantle. He said no local warnings were issued, and firefighters did not have to respond to any emergencies.

"It was a pretty minor shake. It was less than 10 seconds."

Port Hardy Mayor Bev Parnham told the Canadian Press that although the quake was short, it was strong.

Pamela Shea was working a late shift at Port Hardy's Airport Inn when she felt the quake, which she said lasted between 10-12 seconds.

"My chair was rolling back and forth, the bottles were rattling," she told the Canadian Press. "I've lived here 37 years and I've never felt anything like it."

There were no initial reports of damage or injury.

The earthquake was followed by three aftershocks, one of magnitude 5 and the next two both at magnitude 4.2. The second was initially reported at a magnitude of 4.

The USGS says aftershocks of this size are normal for a quake of this magnitude.

Earthquakes are common off the province's coast, where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate meets the Pacific tectonic plate. However, few earthquakes that occur are large enough to be felt by humans.

The most recent large earthquake was in October 2012. A magnitude 7.7 quake shook the northern B.C. Haida Gwaii Islands.

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