7.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits British Columbia in Canada

A powerful 7.7 magnitude quake was felt across a part of British Columbia in the Haida Gwaii area.

The earthquake struck off a wide area that includes Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Houston. Photo: USGS

A 7.7 earthquake has shaken the west coast of Canada and authorities announced a tsunami warning, but it seems like the powerful natural phenomenon has brought major damage.

As a Fox News report claims, the quake hit the Queen Charlotte Islands about 8 p.m. local time Saturday at a depth of about 3 miles (5 kilometers) and was centered 96 miles (155 kilometers) south of Masset, British Columbia.

“It was felt across much of north-central B.C., including Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Houston. There have been no reports of damage at this time,” Earthquakes Canada said in a statement.

“I was sitting at my desk on my computer and everything just started to move. It was maybe 20 seconds,” said Joan Girbav, manager of Pacific Inn in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. “It’s very scary. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never felt that.”

The temblor was also felt on the mainland in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, which is across the Hecate Strait from the islands.

“Everyone felt it here,” said city recreation director Rudy Kelly, who at the moment was setting up an evacuation center for people from the city’s low-lying areas. He said the work was in anticipation of a tsunami wave.

Another Prince Rupert resident Grainne Barthe revealed to reporters that fire trucks had blocked access to the waterfront when she came out of a restaurant.

“Everything was moving. It was crazy,” she said. “I’ve felt earthquakes before but this was the biggest. It was nerve wracking. I thought we should be going under a table.”

Dennis Sinnott of the Canadian Institute of Ocean Science reported that a 69 centimeter (27 inch) wave was recorded off Langara Island on the northeast tip of Haida Gwaii, which is also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

One more wave of 55 centimeter (21 inch) fell upon Winter Harbour on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island.

“It appears to be settling down,” he said. “It does not mean we won’t get another small wave coming through.”

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center assured that it was no threat to the islands of Hawaii, but the agency did released a warning later Saturday and it still remains in effect until 7 p.m. Sunday.

A small craft advisory is in effect until Sunday morning. The center predicted the first tsunami wave could hit the area by about 10:30 p.m. local time.

The USGS said the 7.7 magnitude quake shook the waters around British Columbia and was soon followed by a 5.8 magnitude aftershock. Several other aftershocks were reported.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska tried to warn the locals with a boat on the water to prepare for a potential tsunami.

Urs Thomas, operator of the Golden Spruce hotel in Port Clements didn’t know anything about the upcoming earthquake before everything began moving and shaking inside and outside the hotel. He said it lasted about three minutes.

“It was a pretty good shock,” Thomas, 59, said. “I looked at my boat outside. It was rocking. Everything was moving. My truck was moving.”

After the initial jolt, Thomas began to check the hotel. “The fixtures and everything were still swinging,” he said. “I had some picture frames coming down.”

The U.S. Geological Survey named the shake as one of the biggest earthquakes around the country in decades and was felt across a wide area around British Columbia.

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