Scientists discovered a 50 mile or 80.5 km long crack or fault in the Earth that crosses British Columbia in Canada. Photo/Illustration/Daily Mail
WASHINGTON – Scientists discovered a crack or fault in the Earth 50 miles or 80.5 km long that crosses British Columbia in Canada. Judging from the location of this fault, it has the potential to trigger a large earthquake in Canada and invite a tsunami in the northeastern part of the United States (US).
If the 80.5 km long fault line breaks or moves, it could cause an earthquake and trigger a tsunami in the area around the Georgia Basin, parts of Washington and British Columbia. The Georgia Basin includes the US cities of Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, as well as Vancouver, Victoria and Whistler in Canada.
This discovery was made by a research team that included Nick Harrichhausen, a postdoctoral fellow at Université Grenoble Alpes in France. “An earthquake of this size will cause damage, especially considering its location close to urban areas,” said Harrichhausen, quoted by SINDOnews from the Daily Mail page, Sunday (10/12/2023).
Harrichausen and his colleagues explored the fault line by digging trenches across it, looking for signs of earthquakes and fault line shifts in geological history. These signs appear in the form of changes in the magnetic field.
Minerals in rocks have different levels of magnetism. Measuring these differences can show whether large rock formations formed at the same time and retained their shape.
What they found was that, moments after the glaciers had carved out the landscape, slip-dip faults had shifted the land. They calculated this happened within the last 12,000 years, probably between 4,700 and 2,300 years ago.
However, calculating when an event like this might occur is a challenge, even for geologists. If another earthquake occurs, Harrichhausen said, people in the region can take some basic steps to prepare.
“The only thing we can do is look at earthquake recurrence intervals in the past (the average number of years between earthquakes),” he said. In a study published this week in the journal Tectonics, making these calculations requires at least two separate earthquakes to estimate the time between earthquakes.