Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) underwater earthquake sensors off the west coast of Vancouver Island detected in real-time the magnitude 7.1 earthquake in central Mexico today.
The sensors—located at Barkley Canyon, Cascadia Basin and Endeavour on and near the Cascadia subduction zone—recorded seismic activity from more than 4,000 kilometres away.
“Today’s earthquake in central Mexico is yet another reminder and opportunity for British Columbia to ramp up efforts to complete our earthquake early warning system before the ‘Big One’ hits,” says ONC Innovation Centre Business Analyst Teron Moore.
Earlier this month, ONC sensors also picked up the magnitude 8.1 earthquake that struck off Mexico’s southwest coast near the Guatemalan border.
In February 2016, the Government of British Columbia invested $5 million for ONC to develop and install an earthquake early warning system.
British Columbia’s earthquake early warning system is currently in development and will be installed, tested and delivered to Emergency Management BC by March 2019. Once completed, the system will be capable of providing British Columbians with advance warning of a large mega-thrust earthquake occurring at the Cascadia subduction zone.
Unlike Mexico’s land-based sensors, British Columbia’s earthquake early warning system has the advantage of underwater sensors deployed on or near the Cascadia subduction zone. The closer a sensor is to an earthquake’s epicentre, the more advance warning can be provided.
ONC is an initiative of the University of Victoria.