Three relatively strong earthquakes were recorded Sunday night,in the Pacific Ocean off Vancouver Island but there was no tsunami or subsequent damage reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 6.6 magnitude quake about 260 kilometres west of Tofino, followed by a 6.8 tremor and then a third measuring 6.5.

Dr. John Cassidy, seismologist at the Geological Survey of Canada, told CTV News Channel Monday it was “unusual to have three in a row.” But that doesn’t mean something bigger is coming.

“It doesn’t really tell us anything about when a future strong earthquake would occur,” he said, adding that the region, nicknamed “Pacific Ring of Fire,” regularly experiences thousands of small earthquakes each year.

Survey geophysicist Zachary Reeves said all three quakes occurred in the same general area over the course of about an hour, and at a shallow depth of approximately 10 kilometres.

Reeves, based in Golden, Colorado, described the quakes as "pretty big."

Emergency Info BC tweeted that the quakes were felt in parts of the province but there were no reports of damage or injury and no tsunami warning was issued. 

The epicentres for the quakes were in open ocean about 200 km from Port Hardy, B.C. But had the shallow-depth earthquakes occured near or on land they likely would have caused significant damage to surrounding structures and buildings.

Shortly after the large quakes, three smaller aftershocks were detected on the Explorer seismic plate. Cassidy warned that residents might feel more aftershocks in the coming days.

He also suggested the data collected from the recent seismic events will give insight on how the ground shakes in the region, as well as influence how engineers develop or update building, dam and bridge codes.

The night's second earthquake was the largest in the province since Haida Gwaii, B.C. was rocked by a magnitude 7.8 quake on October 27, 2012.

Aftershocks expected in the coming days

British Columbia is located in an active seismic zone where sensors monitor activity and help scientists give early warning to residents.

Most of the quakes happen near the Cascadia subduction zone, an area where the Juan de Fuca and North American tectonic plates converge, stretching from Vancouver Island to northern California.

They’re so common, the B.C. government called it “high-risk earthquake zone” and their website recommends residents have supplies and emergency kits so they’re prepared to be on their own for at least 72 hours.

An earthquake early-warning system recently tested off the B.C. coast could give residents anywhere from 20 seconds to two minutes to prepare before a quake, Cassidy said.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors developed by Ocean Networks Canada areinstalled along the Cascadia subduction zone and when fully operating next March, will be able to estimate location and magnitude of a megathrust earthquake.

As for aquatic life being affected by the recent quakes, Cassidy said the creatures and plants on the seabed were likely unaffected since the quakes merely shook the ground and weren’t large tectonic plate shifts.

With files from The Canadian Press