4.3-magnitude earthquake rattles western Quebec
Published Wednesday, March 16, 2011 7:57PM EDT
A 4.3-magnitude earthquake struck an area covering eastern Ontario and western Quebec Wednesday afternoon, with people from Ottawa to the Greater Montreal Region reporting that they felt the temblor.
Natural Resources Canada says the quake was centered in Hawkesbury, Ont. -- not Lachute, Que., as had earlier been reported. It struck at about 1:36 p.m. ET and lasted about 10 seconds.
There were no reports so far of any damage.
Viewers from across the region have been emailing CTV.ca to say they felt the earth shake beneath their feet. One reader sent an email to CTV News saying she felt a tremor in Ste-Adele, Ste-Anne de Lacs in the Laurentians. Another said she felt a "deep rumble" around 1:35 p.m. in Orleans, Ont., that lasted a "full minute."
Last summer, a 5.0-magnitude quake rattled Ontario, Quebec, and parts of the northeastern United States, sending some residents running into the streets. That quake's epicentre was about 56 kilometres northeast of Ottawa.
Just like last year's shaker, Wednesday's earthquake brought down the website for Earthquakes Canada as Canadians rushed to the site for information.
Many visitors on Wednesday were greeted by frozen screens, but by about 2 p.m. EST the site appeared to be working again.
Last June's earthquake left Natural Resources staffers scrambling for two hours, according to documents obtained by The Canadian Press. It took four hours for the site to be fully working, raising questions about how well-prepared the department is to communicate with Canadians in case of a real crisis.
Bruce Presgrave, a spokesperson with the Earthquake Information Center, told CTV News that the region is known for small earthquakes as it lies in an area called the West Quebec Seismic Zone. The zone is bordered by the Ottawa Valley, the Laurentians, and eastern Ontario.
Small earthquakes are felt in this zone three or four times a year. Earthquakes cause damage in the zone about once a decade.
According to Natural Resources Canada, around 450 earthquakes occur in eastern Canada each year. Among them, perhaps four exceed magnitude 4, while 30 will exceed magnitude 3.