Speaker Kinsella addresses Senators on the lawn of Parliament Hill attempting to adjourn for the day following the earthquake Wednesday in Ottawa.
Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec — Globe and Mail Update
Published on Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2010 1:46PM EDT
Last updated on Wednesday, Jun. 23, 2010 8:15PM EDT
A magnitude 5.0 earthquake hit central Canada Wednesday afternoon, rattling buildings from Sudbury to Quebec City, and as far south as New York City.
The epicentre of the quake was in Quebec, about 38 kilometres north of Cumberland, Ont., which is on the Ottawa River, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and struck at 1:41 p.m. EDT at a depth of 18 kilometres.
There have been two recorded earthquakes with a magnitude over 6.0 in the Western Quebec seismic zone: a 6.1-magnitude quake in 1935 and one measuring 6.2 in 1732.
“Earthquakes are fairly uncommon here,” said Morgan Moschetti, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “This isn’t totally unheard of, but they are relatively infrequent.”
Mr. Moschetti said aftershocks are “definitely a possibility” but that such smaller earthquakes are sometimes so minor they are hardly noticeable.
“After any large event, there’s going to be some adjustment in the earth,” he said.
Mr. Moschetti said the earthquake was felt in the U.S. from Chicago to western Maine.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.0 is considered to be a moderate one but it can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions. At the most, it should cause only slight damage to well-designed buildings. However, parts of the Ottawa Valley, including Ottawa, are at greater risk of structural problems because of ground acceleration, a phenomenon in which the type of bedrock amplifies the effects of the tremor, said Alexander Cruden, a professor of geology at University of Toronto. via The Globe and Mail
I'll keep updating this. Not only is Ottawa prone to more earthquake damage because of ground acceleration, but the rarity of moderate earthquakes here means many buildings are not constructed with earthquakes in mind. Buildings made of brick and masonry - such as, oh, I don't know, the Parliament Buildings - are at a high risk of damage.
Tell you a secret - it was kind of fun to watch the house undulate.