Western Quebec Seismic Zone
The Western Quebec Seismic Zone is a seismically active area in the Ottawa Valley in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. The zone stretches from Montreal to Témiscaming and from Cornwall up along the Laurentian Mountains.
Significant earthquakes associated with this seismic zone include the 1732 Montreal earthquake, the 1935 Timiskaming earthquake, the 1944 Cornwall-Massena earthquake, and the 2010 Central Canada earthquake.
Seismological monitoring of the zone is performed by the Canadian National Seismograph Network.
1732 Montreal earthquake
Because this is the earliest recorded local earthquake, there is little information about it. It is known that it was a powerful earthquake, leaving much devastation but few deaths. It measured 5.8 on the Richter scale and caused panic, cracks in the ground, and damage to most buildings. The aftershocks could be felt for several days after the initial earthquake.
1935 Timiskaming earthquake
At the epicenter of the 1935 Timiskaming earthquake, cracks in gravel and sand could be seen. Almost all chimneys were damaged or destroyed, and some cracks developed in brick walls. These conditions persisted 110 km away from the epicenter. The next day, Tee Lake (close to the epicenter) was clouded. It is suspected that sediment which was previously undisturbed was shaken up by the earthquake. This event scored a 7 on the Modified Mercalli Scale.
1944 Cornwall-Massena earthquake
Although it was only measured as 5.8 on the Richter Scale, the Cornwall earthquake did considerable damage and also scored a 7 on the Modified Mercalli Scale. Roughly 2000 chimneys were damaged or destroyed. One school suffered heavy damage with brick falling through the roof of its gym. Most two-storey buildings were damaged.
2010 Central Canada earthquake
On June 23, 2010 at 1:41:42 EST, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake occurred 32 km north of Buckingham, Quebec at a depth of 18 km. It was felt throughout Western Quebec, Ottawa, and other parts of Ontario, and as far away as Ohio, Michigan, New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Maryland in the U.S.
2013 Central Canada earthquakes
On May 17, 2013 at 9:43:23 EST, a 5.2 magnitude earthquake occurred 17 km north of Shawville, Quebec at a depth of 5 km. At 9:53:54 EST, a 4.1 magnitude aftershock occurred 20 km north of Shawville. It was felt throughout Western Quebec, Ottawa, and other parts of Ontario, and as far away as Ohio. in the U.S.
- Earthquakes Canada is reporting a series of earthquakes in eastern Ontario and Quebec, one of which was felt in Hamilton.
The first quake, which happened at 9:43 a.m. has a preliminary magnitude of 4.8 with its centre in the Braeside, Ontario region. Braeside is near Arnprior, which is east of Ottawa.
On Twitter, people reported shaking in Hamilton and Toronto from that quake.
Earthquakes Canada then reported a 5.1 magnitude quake near Shawville, Quebec, at the same time.
A third, smaller earthquake, again centred in the Braeside, Ontario region was reported at 9:53 a.m.
Bernie Dunn of the Southern Ontario Seismic Network, based in London, said earthquakes with a magnitude above 4.0 are more likely in the Western Quebec seismic zone, which includes the Ottawa valley.
"You'll get a few more big ones out that way than we do in this part of southern Ontario," he said. "But a 5.1 is still fairly unusual … we felt it here (in London)."
- "The Western Quebec Seismic Zone". Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- "Natural Resources Canada: The 16 September, 1732, Montréal earthquake". Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Magnitude 5.0 - ONTARIO-QUEBEC BORDER REGION, CANADA". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
- "2013-05-17: M=5.2 - 18 km NE of Shawville, QC - felt". Earthquakes Canada. Retrieved May 17, 2013.
- "2013-05-17: M=4.1 - 20 km NE of Shawville, QC - aftershock". Earthquakes Canada. Retrieved May 17, 2013.