Earthquake – Largest in Alberta’s history shakes region; no damage

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

An earthquake rattled the Peace Region at 4:45 p.m. Nov. 29 with its epicentre 29 km east northeast of Nampa near Reno.
It is the largest in Alberta’s history, according to Alberta Geological Survey, which officially measures the quake at 5.58.
Varying reports of the intensity of the quake were first reported as 5.2, 5.3, 5.8 and 5.9. Earthquake Track recorded the quake at 5.3 on the Richter Scale.
The quake was felt as far away as Grande Prairie, Fort St. John, Slave Lake, High Prairie, Fort McMurray and Edmonton.
No damage was reported.
Earthquakes Canada reported at least five aftershocks: two at 4.0 on Nov. 29, and Nov. 30 at 4.0, 4.1 and 4.3.
One reader, Keith A. Anderson, who lives near Peace River, shared his experience with South Peace News.
“My wife and I live near Township Road 814 and Range Road 203 in a two-storey wood frame house,” he emailed to South Peace News.
“I was upstairs on the second floor at my computer desk. I first noticed a low but strong rumbling noise, like a snow plow truck going by, but much louder and more erratic. It sure caught my attention as I wondered what was going on. Then about two seconds later the house started shaking and cracking, like it does when the outside temperature changes quickly in the winter, but much louder and faster.
“’Wow!’ I thought. This is a real earthquake and I get to experience it for real – in Alberta.
“For the next 6-8 seconds, the shaking and noise gradually increased. The computer monitor was wobbling left and right, the tower was shaking, and a baseball cap fell off the filing cabinet. My reaction changed from thrill to fearful worry.
“’How bad is this going to get?’ Before my brain could get past that thought, the earthquake quickly subsided. Two seconds later all was normal again.
“Meanwhile, my wife was in the basement and only noticed some slight noise and shaking, much to my relief since she tends not to handle the unexpected very calmly. Lesser tremors followed off and on for three hours, but none as strong or long as that first one. But each time on the main floor, they would set the crystal on the glass shelves in the China cabinet tinkling.”
In High Prairie, the South Peace News building shook for about 15-20 seconds.
Following are accounts posted on Volcano Discovery’s website which show the wide area the quake affected:
Grouard: “It sounded like someone was running on my deck. . .then a boom and my windows shook and you felt the pressure in your chest and ears. Me and toddler jumped off the couch.”
Falher: “Sitting at the kitchen table, felt vibrations under the feet, saw water in jug vibrating, table was vibrating and sounded like a train. . .”
Dawson Creek: “(The) couch started pulsating and fish tank water was swaying back and forth, same with cup of water on coffee table.”
Wabasca: “Eating dinner, everything started shaking side to side and and vibrating. Could see tables, lamps, microwave oscillating. Very cool!”
Peace River: “Strong shaking lasted about 45 seconds.”
Valleyview: “I’m (in) hotel, felt rumbling at my feet and then the TV and fridge were creaking. Pencil rolled off notepad, and fork vibrated off the drying towel.”
Fairview: Sitting at the kitchen table when the curtains, table, chairs started to shake.”
Widewater: “It was a weird feeling, we weren’t sure what we experienced. I honestly thought something hit the house. Things were rattling and vibrating.”
Spirit River: “The house shook, it felt like there was large piece of machinery basically touching my house. Everyone in the house felt it, was wondering what it was.”
Peace River: “My house started rattling and felt it creaking for about one minute.”
Fort McMurray: “Felt the entire concrete building shake four times in a span of one hour, 30 minutes. Cracking sounds, water in glass visibly sloshing around, took a video posted on Facebook. It freaked me out enough to leave building for awhile and come back to condo for third and fourth aftershock . . . the third was the strongest.”
Peace River: “Terrified!”
Loon Lake: “The house was shaking side to side. The one that happened earlier I had the washing machine on so didn’t notice. This time, that was off and really noticed it this time shaking side to side.”
Peace River: “Lots of shaking and rumbling. Felt like I had a tank fleet drive by my apartment building. Small- to medium-size objects were displaced off the shelves with windows and cabinets shaking.”
Peace River: “The second one rattled the windows, we felt the floor shaking, lights flickered. Lasted about five seconds of intense shaking and then another 15 seconds of what felt like a less intense slow rumble. Freaked out the cats.”
Valleyview: “Felt the couch move underneath me.”
Harmon Valley: “It shook the whole shop. Trucks were rocking. Papers fell off chairs. It was substantial for the area.”
Fort St. John: “I was in the bathroom and it suddenly felt like everything was wobbling. I could hear my washer and dryer flexing as well. I could hear the house creaking a bit. My daughter was on her bed and said similar sensations. Wobbling sensation, like someone was underneath the bed tilting it from side to side.”
Brownvale: “Light shaking. I honestly mistook it for a strong gust of wind from outside, or my house shifting with the cold. Freaked out my cats.”
Slave Lake: “The shaking shook our house. The dishes in the kitchen cupboards, the things on the shelf, the TV, etc. My husband fell over.”
Slave Lake: “Shook us on the couch. Dog started barking.”
Edmonton: “Sitting in my office and the house started shaking for about 20 seconds.”
Grande Prairie: “Apartment building shook, glass indoor decorations displaced.”
La Crete: “It felt like a huge truck hitting the house repeatedly.”
Nampa: “Why are we experiencing so many earthquakes in such a sort time frame in an area that is typically not prone to earthquakes? Is this due to fracking?”

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