(Oct 29, 2012) The second largest Earthquake in Canadian history was still rattling nerves Sunday, with aftershocks off the northern coast of British Columbia. On Saturday night, a massive 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit about 30 kilometres north of Sandspit, B.C., in the Haida Gwaii islands shortly after 8 p.m. local time, sending tremors north through the island chain and south as far as Metro Vancouver. It was the largest earthquake to be felt in Canada since an 8.1-magnitude quake in the same region back in 1949. A surprisingly strong 6.4-magnitude aftershock in the same area shook residents again Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m. Earthquake expert Brent Ward from Simon Fraser University said he expects aftershocks for days ahead, but generally in the 4- to 5-magnitude range. “We don’t really understand how to predict earthquakes enough to know if something like this could be an indicator of a larger earthquake in the same vicinity occurring in the future,” Ward said Sunday. “If we get another earthquake that’s greater than 7.7, it wouldn’t be an aftershock, it would be a new earthquake.” Saturday’s massive quake also caused a sleepless night for a whole section of western North America, watching and waiting for a tsunami warning to pass. Based on historical records, earthquakes in the area of Saturday evening’s rumblings don’t generally trigger tsunamis, Ward said.
But he added that evacuations are a worth the effort because tsunami waves can sweep through coastal communities with devastating consequences. Neil Goodwin, a fishing lodge manager from Sandspit, was in his living room Saturday night when the rumbling started. “It was the kind of shaking that if you weren’t holding onto something, you’d be on the floor,” he said. “It wasn’t very violent for probably the first 10 seconds, and then it really amped up.” As the power cut out, Goodwin, 35, used the flashlight on his cell phone to find his two dogs and escape his house. He didn’t have time to assess the damage or find his cat. Goodwin drove to one of two hills designated as safety point in tsunami drills, where he stood with his neighbours and watched the waves grow in size and strength. “Within 10 minutes, pretty much 90 per cent of everyone in town was in one of the two points,” he said. In Queen Charlotte, Canadian Coast Guard Malcolm Dunderdale spent a sleepless night in the dark after the power cut out within seconds of the shaking, which he said lasted about 30 to 45 seconds. After gathering his cellphone, mobile radios and general tsunami kits, plus blankets and pillows, Dunderdale said, there was nothing to do but wait. The earthquake also triggered tsunami warnings in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. The last of the tsunami advisories were lifted Sunday morning. The biggest waves — about 1.5 metres high — appeared to hit Maui, the Associated Press reported. There were no immediate reports of damage, though one person died in a fatal crash near a road that was closed because of the threat near Oahu’s north shore