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Moderate Earthquake Shakes Alberta, Canada

EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA, April 13, 2001 (Seismo-Watch) -- A moderate earthquake measuring a M5.2 was recorded at 8:20 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (GMT: 02:02:12, April 14) in Northwest Alberta, Canada. The quake was centered about 294 miles northwest of Edmonton, about 78 miles west of Peace River and 43 miles northeast of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, in a remote region near the junction of the Peace and Clear Rivers.

According to the United States Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Service the quake was centered at 56.14N by 119.34W and the focal depth was placed at 16 km beneath the surface. We do not have a fault plane solution for the event at this time. The Canadian Geological Survey registered a preliminary magnitude of M5.4 and placed the epicenter in nearly the same location.

The Canadian Geological Survey reported the quake was widely felt across northwestern Alberta and northeast British Columbia, and was felt as far away as Edmonton. There have been reports of minor damage in the epicentral area, including items knocked from tables and shelves, pictures shaken from walls, and a few cracked walls. There was no indication of window breakage, utility lines disrupted nor injuries. Some minor commercial and retail damage was reported. No surface fault ruptures are expected.

Earthquake activity in the eastern foothills to the northern Canadian Rockies is relatively common but usually centered west of Dawson Creek. This was the largest earthquake in this area in historical times. An earthquake registering M4.6 occurred near Grande Prairie, Alberta, in 1970 and a M5.4 earthquake was recorded northeast of Prince George in 1986.

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Late update: Saturday, April 14, 2001; 7:30 a.m. PDT.


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