N.B. community earthquake swarm starting to settle down
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2016 11:17AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 23, 2016 12:09PM EST
MCADAM, N.B. -- The mayor of a small village in western New Brunswick says the earth - and residents' nerves - are calming down following a recent swarm of earthquakes.
McAdam Mayor Frank Carroll says that while the area is still experiencing tremors, they are nowhere near the strength of a 3.3 magnitude quake that shook homes and broke windows on Feb. 9.
"I think there's somewhat of a calming down over the last couple of weeks. It's almost like the unexpected doesn't happen when you have all the equipment here to monitor everything," Carroll said Tuesday.
Stephen Halchuk, a seismologist with Earthquakes Canada, said four seismic recording instruments were installed about 10 days ago and they have plotted about 30 minor tremors since then.
"This gives us more data that we can work with to try and come up with some answers as to where the possible fault is that's generating the earthquakes and maybe provide some answers on a possible mechanism on what's causing these earthquakes to occur," Halchuk said.
He said the equipment will remain in place for a few months, and scientists would like to get roughly 100 to 200 seismic events to have enough data.
Halchuk said it's not possible to say if the tremors will continue.
"Each swarm of activity is unique and these fluctuations in the size of the events and the frequency of the events, really it's not possible for us to come up with answers as to what's going to happen in the future," he said.
An earthquake swarm occurs when numerous quakes happen in the same area over a short period of time.
The McAdam area experienced a succession of earthquakes in the days before and since the 3.3 magnitude event, which broke windows and shook items off shelves.
Carroll said this month's earthquakes were much stronger than those experienced in 2012 and again in 2015, but he said residents are somewhat reassured that the strongest quakes were centred northwest of the village.
Halchuk said a similar earthquake swarm was recorded in neighbouring Maine about 10 years ago.
He said earthquake swarms may be occurring more often than we realize, but this one was felt because it was so close to homes in McAdam.