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Earthquake rattles Vancouver region

An magnitude 6.7 earthquake has shaken the Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland region.

Readers from around the region have responded to The Tyee's call-out for reports on Twitter:

"Felt quake @ 12:27," writes Bob Rogers, writing under the handle RobertNRogers.

Richmond Food Secure tweeted: "Apparently quite strong in Comox. Pictures falling off walls."

"I felt the #BC #earthquake for about 15seconds," Cameron Eby, handle "bc2planker," tweets from Squamish. "Shaking house enough to swing blinds and rattle pictures!"

Reports of shaking buildings and falling pictures frames keep coming in from western Vancouver Island to downtown Vancouver to Burnaby.

Did you feel the quake? Leave a comment below or tweet all about it. Be sure to direct your tweets @thetyee.

UPDATE, 1:22 p.m.: Natural Resources Canada is now reporting the following:

"A magnitude 6.7 earthquake occurred at 12:41 PDT on Sept. 9 approximately to the west of Vancouver Island. Felt across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland."

UPDATE, 1:47 p.m.: "That's a large-sized quake!" says Professor George Spence from the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.

Spence himself did not feel the earthquake in his UVic office and was surprised to learn of it during a conversation with The Tyee.

But if the quake was so big, why didn't it feel bigger? Two weeks ago, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake was felt from Toronto to the American south.

The 6.7 earthquake that struck B.C. today is nearly ten times stronger.

"It's the distance that counts," says Spence. "The further away you are, the larger the area the energy has to cover, the more the energy is spread out."

In addition, he says, rock in the west is less rigid than on the east coast.

"In the west, it tends to lose energy more quickly."

The professor went on to speculate that the earthquake emanated from the fault between the Juan de Fuca and Explorer plates. But without more precise data, says Spence, we'll have to wait to be sure.

UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.: The government has confirmed in a conference call with reporters that the epicenter of the 6.7 magnitude earthquake was 80 kilometers south of Port Alice at a depth of eighteen kilometers beneath the earth's surface.

According to Chris Duffy, Executive Director of the Provinical Emergency Coordination Program, no warning watch or advisory is in effect in British Columbia.

There have been no official reports of damages or injury so far.

"This earthquake is on the Nootka faultzone," says John Cassidy from Natural Resources Canada, who was also on the conference call. "This type of an earthquake is relatively common."

This confirms statements by George Spence published earlier today in The Tyee that the earthquake originated between the Juan de Fuca and Explorer plates.

Cassidy went on to say that, on average, earthquakes of this magnitude tend to strike the region every ten years.

The largest aftershock recorded so far was registered at a magnitude of 4.9, says Cassidy.

Ben Christopher reports for The Tyee.

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