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Buildings shake as earthquake hits Greater Victoria

An earthquake shook Greater Victoria at 11:39 p.m. Tuesday. The U.S. Geological Survey reported it as a 4.8 magnitude quake while it registered as 4.3 at the Natural Resources Canada website.

An earthquake shook Greater Victoria at 11:39 p.m. Tuesday. The U.S. Geological Survey reported it as a 4.8 magnitude quake while it registered as 4.3 at the Natural Resources Canada website.

Its epicentre was 17 kilometres NNE of Victoria, below the waters east of the Saanich Peninsula, near Sidney Island, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

There were no immediate reports of damage, but it was strong enough to shake buildings. Greater Victoria residents reported the quake lasted several seconds, with some saying they felt it in two waves within about 30 seconds.

The quake depth was 50.6 kilometres, and its location was 48.580°N, 123.273°W, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

It was rated as "lightly felt" across southwest B.C. by Natural Resources Canada. The federal department said damage is not expected. The Victoria Police Department, in a message at 1 a.m., said it had received no reports of damage. 

Metro Vancouver residents reported feeling the quake. 

TransLink said on Twitter shortly after midnight Wednesday that it was shutting down its Millennium Line in Metro Vancouver to make sure its guideway was safe. Service resumed about an hour later. 

The quake was felt to varying degrees across Greater Victoria, with some people saying it rattled their house, while others said they didn't notice it.

Greater Victoria police forces posted messages on social media asking people not to call 911 about the quake unless there was an emergency. "Please do not tie up our 911 resources," said a message from the Victoria Police Department. It said its 911 staff received about 40 calls about the earthquake. 

B.C. Hydro said it had not detected any quake damage: "No impacts to our transmission and distribution systems from tonight’s earthquake," the corporation said on Twitter. 

Here's a sampling of comments posted on Twitter about what the quake felt like:

"that REALLY shook the house here in Saanich. Ducked and covered. My poor cat" — Tom Clements

"felt it in Nanaimo, chair shook, like something fell behind it but nothing else moved in the room" — Sharon Erickson

"Wow! Felt the largest #earthquake in my near 16 years living on #SaltSpring. 4.9 - Scary!" — Lynda Monk

Anonymous comments posted to, which tracks earthquakes:

"I felt two brief periods of shaking. Nothing fell off the walls or tables, it was more or a swaying than jerking feeling. The first period lasted a few seconds, with some rumbling. After about five seconds, a second swaying and rumbling started again lasting a few seconds." — Brentwood Bay

"Loud rumble followed by the whole house shaking. A plant fell off a shelf. Strong enough that we felt we had to check the basement and the brickwork outside for cracks and/or damage." — Sidney

"I heard the earthquake before I felt it. It sounded like a large vehicle moving closer towards my house. The earthquake arrived with a bang." — Saanich

"House shook for a good 30 seconds hard and steady , only 4 miles from epi center" — Saanich

"Felt it enough to get up and will certainly have a good look around our century home in Fairfield neighbourhood Victoria. Could truly feel the house shake and xmas tree was swaying." — Victoria

The B.C. Red Cross saw it as an opportunity to remind people to check their emergency supplies. "#Earthquake wake you? Check if you're prepared for a disaster. Know the risks, make a plan, get a kit," their message on Twitter said.

The View Royal fire department also offered guidance in a Twitter post: "That little shake u felt is a gentle reminder 2 b prepared for all emergencies. Do u know what 2 do? In an eq drop cover and hold #yyj"

Earlier Tuesday, in California, a 4.4 magnitude quake shook the San Bernardino area.


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