Top News

Southwest Nova Scotia's Canada Day earthquake stronger than first thought


YARMOUTH – It turns out a Canada Day earthquake that struck southwestern Nova Scotia the afternoon of July 1 was actually a 3.8 magnitude earthquake, as opposed to a 3.6 one that Earthquakes Canada had initially recorded it as.

A 3.8 magnitude earthquake struck southwestern Nova Scotia on July 1.

Although a weak earthquake, at 3.8 it was still one of the top 5 ‘strongest’ magnitude earthquakes recorded in Canada over a 30-day span, which saw around 315 earthquakes recorded. The majority of earthquakes in Canada (and there are about 10 to 20 each day) are so small no one – other then those who record data on them – knows they occurred.

For instance there were two other earthquakes in June in the Digby region – a 2.5 and a 2.9 – that went unnoticed by the public.

During the month of June the highest magnitude quake in Canada was a 4.4 quake recorded 155 km northeast of Jasper, Alberta on June 13. That quake resulted in no damage. At that magnitude, says Natural Resources Canada, no damage would be expected.

In June there were two 3.9 earthquakes recorded in Canada – one in Nunavut and one in British Columbia. In addition to the 3.8 magnitude earthquake recorded in this region on July 1, there was also a 3.8 quake in Quebec on June 28. It isn’t until you reach quakes of magnitude 6 or higher that you start to see any significant damage, according to Earthquakes Canada.

About the adjustment to the data pertaining to the July 1 earthquake, seismologist Allison Bent with Earthquakes Canada – which is a branch of Natural Resources Canada – says it isn't unusual for data to be tweaked once staff has the opportunity to go in and analyze it further.

“Always after the fact we will go in and take a closer look and add in more data from stations, sometimes things will change a little bit,” she said.

Along with the adjustment of the magnitude, the description of the July 1 location of the epicenter also underwent a minor change – from 60 kilometres southwest of Digby, which was reported on July 1, to 42 kilometres northwest of Yarmouth. The latitude and longitude are still very close to the original report.

The July 1 earthquake was felt in many parts of Yarmouth and Digby counties. There were also some reports of it being felt in the Annapolis region, Shelburne County, and other parts of the south shore of the province.

For most people who felt it, the earthquake presented itself as a very loud rumble accompanied by vibrations. There was then a severe jolt, some even heard a loud bang, which caused buildings and homes to shake.

On social media people described what they experienced. Many said their homes shook and they heard the rumble. Some people said items in their homes rattled or fell onto the floor.

There was also an aftershock recorded about seven minutes after the earthquake. It was recorded as a 2.2 magnitude aftershock 32 kilometres north of Yarmouth. There weren’t any reports of the aftershock being felt.

Latest News