In Canada, the coast of British Columbia is the region most at risk from a major earthquake. Other areas prone to earthquakes are the St. Lawrence and Ottawa River valleys, as well as parts of the three northern territories. Approximately 5,000 mostly small earthquakes are recorded in Canada each year. In the past 100 years, at least nine earthquakes in or near Canada have registered a magnitude greater than 7. A few have caused extensive damage. Even a magnitude 6 earthquake could do extensive damage in a built-up area. In fact, a strong quake near one of Canada's major urban areas would likely be the most destructive natural disaster this country could experience.
What to do:
- Get up-to-date information on earthquake activity in your area.
- The earth's crust is composed of many large and small segments called tectonic plates. These plates are in constant slow movement. With these movements come small tremors and earthquakes.
- Shallow crevasses can form during earthquakes due to landslides or other types of ground failures.
- Buildings do not automatically collapse in earthquakes.
- Earthquakes cannot be predicted.
Small or moderate earthquakes
- These can last only a few seconds and represent no emergency risk.
- Ceiling lights may move and some minor rattling of objects may occur in your home.
- You may feel a slight quiver under your feet if you are outside.
- If you are close to its source, you may hear a loud bang followed by shaking.
- These can last up to several minutes and constitute a natural disaster if its epicentre is near a densely populated area, or its magnitude sufficiently large for the region.
- The ground or floor will move, perhaps violently.
- Whether far away or close to the source, you will probably feel shaking followed by a rolling motion, much like being at sea.
- If you are far away from the source, you might see swaying buildings or hear a roaring sound.
- You may feel dizzy and be unable to walk during the earthquake.
- If you live in a high rise or a multi-storey building, you may experience more sway and less shaking than in a smaller, single-storey building. Lower floors will shake rapidly, much like residential homes. On upper floors, movement will be slower but the building will move farther from side to side.
- Furnishings and unsecured objects could fall over or slide across the floor.
- Unsecured light fixtures and ceiling panels may fall.
- Windows may break.
- Fire alarms and sprinkler systems may be activated.
- Lights and power may go off.
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