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Minor earthquake rattles Quebec

4.3 magnitude earthquake hits Quebec Wednesday
4.3 magnitude earthquake hits Quebec Wednesday

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

March 16, 2011 — A minor earthquake that was detected in western Quebec Wednesday was felt in parts of Ontario as well.

Structure damage in Gatineau, Quebec in June 2010
Structure damage in Gatineau, Quebec in June 2010

A minor earthquake hit western Quebec Wednesday afternoon. Natural Resources Canada says the 4.3 magnitude quake was centered in Lachute, which is between Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario.

One caller to The Weather Network Stormline said he felt the tremor for about 10 to 15 seconds in Manchester, Ontario.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The last time an earthquake was felt in the region was in June 2010. The 5.0 magnitude quake shook parts of Ontario and Quebec. A state of emergency was declared in Gracefield and officials said at least seven buildings were damaged there including the town church, civic administration offices and the grocery store.

While earthquakes with 5.0 magnitude or higher in Ontario and Quebec are uncommon, experts say they're certainly not unheard of.

“They occur roughly in southern Ontario and southern Quebec every ten years, maybe even less than that,” says John Clague, a Geologist at Simon Fraser University.

Julie Emond, Geology and Geography Specialist at MétéoMédia says the Ottawa Valley is an active seismic zone.

“The city of Hawkesbury is located at the junction of the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence Lowlands where there are many geological faults. Those faults increase the risk of an earthquake to occur in the region,” explains Emond.

Damage from 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan
Damage from 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan

The devastation from a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan has many Canadians wondering: What if the 'Big One' hits home?

Emergency officials say with natural disasters becoming more frequent, residents should always be prepared.

“The recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the earlier earthquake in New Zealand show that an emergency can occur any time and any place- often without warning,” said Loretta Chandler, Director of Toronto's Office of Emergency Management in a media statement.

Things like packing emergency kits and practicing earthquake drills can help to save lives during a major earthquake event.

With files from The Canadian Press

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