Central Alberta rattled by 4.6 magnitude earthquake
Natural Resources Canada has confirmed seismic activity in Central Alberta and says an earthquake was lightly felt in the Red Deer and Sylvan Lake areas on Monday morning.
According to the ministry, a 4.6 magnitude earthquake was felt about 19 km west of Red Deer at about 5:55 a.m.
Jade Cosman lives in Sylvan Lake and says she was jolted out of bed just before 6:00 a.m.
“I just felt this jolt and I, kind of, actually thought I heard something, but I don’t know, I was just flying out of bed and then got up, tried to turn the lights on, everything was off. So, looked out and just the whole town was black,” she said. “It was very scary at first.”
Linda Borsato also lives in Sylvan Lake and says she was having breakfast when the quake occurred.
“There was a pop right as the power went off and then the entire house shook,” she said. “The first thing my husband thought was that it was an explosion somewhere. So we grabbed our phones and turned on the flashlights and went around and had a look outside in the neighbourhood and the entire town was black.”
Rob Mackenzie from Chief’s Pub and Eatery says his bed was shaking when he woke up and he heard a loud bang.
“I thought that somebody hit my car and I got up and looked and power was out,” he said. “I heard a crack, kind of thing.”
He says his business didn’t sustain any damage and that he also hasn’t seen any damage to structures around town.
AltaLink says power was out in the area for about 90 minutes and about 4600 customers were affected.
Officials say there was no damage to infrastructure and that power was restored to all residences by about 7:30 a.m.
The Alberta Energy Regulator says fracking activities were being done in the area at the time but it is not clear if that had anything to do with the earthquake.
In a statement to CTV News, Vesta Energy Ltd. said its monitoring equipment detected a 4.32 magnitude seismic event southwest of Red Deer. The company says it has shut down completions activity in the area and that it is working with the AER to investigate the situation.
Dr. David Eaton is a professor of geophysics at the University of Calgary and says natural earthquakes don’t happen here very often.
“Any earthquake, whether its natural or induced by human activities takes place on a pre-existing geological fault so this occurs because of stress buildup within a tectonic plate from plate tectonic forces. If it’s an induced earthquake event, that can occur if there’s a small change in the stress, occurring from some human activity, as I said mining or construction of a dam or oil production or fluid injection are all things that can cause slip on a pre-existing fault.”
Eaton says it was a small quake but that it would be felt by people near the epicenter.
“One would only expect there to be relatively light damage as a result of a small earthquake like this. Now, I understand that there was a transformer that was tripped as a result of the ground shaking from the earthquake and of course, people are going to notice that if they had a power outage,” he said.
Natural Resources Canada collects data from the community about the extent of shaking and damage for earthquakes in Canada. Click HERE to file a report.