Sydney, NS – An earthquake was reported off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador this weekend, although you’re not likely to feel its full impact.
The 4.6-magnitude earthquake was recorded underwater 361 km southeast of Sydney at about 1:45 p.m. AT somewhere in the deep waters of the Grand Bank.
Seismologists from Natural Resources Canada considered it a moderate earthquake.
“If this had happened on land, it would have been widely felt by people 100-200 kilometers in length,” said Stephen Halchuk, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada.
“It could have caused some strong vibrations and may have caused some items to fall off the shelves in the immediate vicinity. But since they are about 300 kilometers from shore, no one on the ground would notice them.”
Even if you were at sea, you probably did not feel the earthquake.
“Generally speaking, earthquakes have to be magnitude seven before you can have large generations of tsunamis,” he said.
“If there had happened to be a boat in the immediate vicinity, they might have noticed but then again it might have been lost in the general movement of the ocean.”
Magnitude: 4.6 degrees When: July 19, 2022 @ 1:44:17 AST Location: 279 km south of Grand Bank, NL; 361 km east-southeast of Sydney; 592 km east of Halifax. 1,198 km east of Quebec
The earthquake was picked up by regional seismological stations. There are about 150 across the country, including one in Halifax, North Cape Breton and St. John’s, N.L.
Halchuk said an event of the size of Sunday produced several recordings, which were then confirmed by computer software, before a “trained eye” would help locate such a location as the Laurentian Slope and warn that something was going on.
The most recent earthquakes reported on the Earthquakes Canada website occurred in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia this month.
One of the largest events recorded on the site was on November 18, 1929, with a magnitude of 7.1 and smaller aftershocks in the days and weeks that followed.
“It is known as the Grand Banks earthquake which is not really a correct name. It is actually not part of the Grand Banks.”
Sunday’s earthquake was reported off Nova Scotia, about 361 km southeast of Sydney. It is unlikely that any traces will be felt on the beach. Greg McNeil / Cape Bretton Post – Greg McNeil
This event triggered an underwater landslide that triggered a tsunami, Halchuk said.
“People felt the same earthquake on the ground and it did some damage in Cape Breton. I think the typical damage is the destruction of chimneys. The tsunami was much more deadly. It swept north and hit the southern coast of Newfoundland along the Buren Peninsula and 28 people lost their lives when the tsunami swept.”
In a 2015 written report, Owen Fitzgerald wrote to the Cape Breton Post about the impact of that earthquake on Cape Breton.
He wrote: “It was Monday, November 18, 1929.” “Children were playing in the yard, and my grandfather, Frank Fitzgerald, had just come back from work at the steel mill when the ground began to tremble, buildings shook, chimneys overturned, and dishes smashed on the floor. It was over within minutes.”
Many Cape Breton residents linked the accident to a furnace explosion, not an earthquake.
But the worst was yet to come, Fitzgerald wrote. At about 9pm, an eight-foot-high tidal wave swept through Sydney Harbour, leaving in its wake great devastation. West Mount Road was completely inundated as well as the main highway that lines the coast in northern Sydney. The areas from the corner of Dodd and Pitt Streets to the Prince and Dodd intersection were completely flooded. Some streets were covered with three feet of water.”
“If this had happened on land, it would have been widely felt by people 100-200 kilometers in length.” – Stephen Halchuk, seismologist at Natural Resources Canada.
As of Tuesday morning, only two people in Nova Scotia had reported Sunday’s earthquake in Canada, and both were in the Sydney area. Each report indicated minimal impacts.
Halchuk suspects that these people who reported them likely heard about the earthquake from a news source.
If you feel this or any other earthquake, we encourage you to reach out.
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