Quake: No injuries or major damage
Oct 28, 2012 / 8:50 pm
After a sleepless night of tsunami warnings and aftershocks, triggered by a massive earthquake off British Columbia's northwestern coast, Faye Beaulieu felt a small rumble inside her home around noon on Sunday in the Haida Gwaii community of Queen Charlotte.
It was yet another aftershock, this time a magnitude-6.4, the most significant since the magnitude-7.7 quake the night before that itself was one of the biggest in Canadian history.
"I thought it was my washer going into spin cycle, but apparently it wasn't," said Beaulieu, 61, recalling the latest aftershock.
"It was only three or four seconds, just long enough to rattle everything, including me."
The main quake struck Saturday evening a few minutes after 8 p.m., with an epicentre about 30 kilometres off the coast of Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands.
It triggered tsunami warnings along the BC coast and as far away as Hawaii. There were reports of people feeling the quake throughout BC, though there appeared to be no injuries or significant damage in the immediate area beyond broken picture frames and dishes.
Beaulieu, who is the unit chief for the community's ambulance service, was at home with her husband watching a movie and initially thought the rattling was from coming from her home entertainment system. But when she shut the movie off, the rattling didn't stop.
"I really thought my house was coming down," said Beaulieu, who said the shaking lasted about a minute.
"For how much the house was shaking, I'm surprised at how little happened."
Tsunami warnings prompted evacuations on Haida Gwaii and in other coastal communities such as Tofino, on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island.
Early Sunday morning, the warnings were downgraded to advisories, meaning evacuations were no longer necessary, and they were cancelled altogether a few hours later.
While the fears of a tsunami were never realized, there were concerns that information from the provincial government's emergency program was slow to reach local officials.
Justice Minister Shirley Bond, whose ministry oversees the province's emergency program, said the government will review what happened, but overall, she said she was pleased with the response.
"We're continuing to analyse the response as we work our way through the day. Local authorities responded well, and their emergency plans seem to have worked well," Bond said in an interview.
"Obviously, minutes and hours matter when there is a potential catastrophic event, so what I want to do is refine the process so that we do that as well as we possibly can."
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