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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

Earthquakes in BC

British Columbia experiences an earthquake every day, but only a small number of these quakes are noticeable and even fewer result in damage.

 Earthquake induced landslide, Mt Col. Foster 



































View of landslide on Mount Colonel Foster triggered by the June 23, 1946 Vancouver Island earthquake (photo courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada).


Several major earthquakes have hit B.C. in the last 100 years and there is a very good chance we will experience large earthquakes in the future. We live in a high-risk zone because of the geological processes that take place within the crust of the Earth in B.C.


Plates in the Earth's surface shift to produce earthquakes and the science of geology can help determine which ground types will be most affected by a quake. An important step in ensuring your own safety is to understand the answers to the following questions:


Certain terms used in these pages may be unfamiliar to the non-geologist. They have been hyperlinked to a glossary where a short definition can be found.

Earthquakes in British Columbia was originally produced as Information Circular 1991-6 by the BC Geological Survey in cooperation with the B.C. Ministry of Environment, the B.C. Provincial Emergency Program and with the assistance of the Geological Survey of Canada. It has been amended and updated in this WWW version.

Copies are available from: 
Publications Office

BC Geological Survey