Thursday , November 14 2019
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A 4.2 scale earthquake near Fort St. John

An earthquake struck an area northeast of BC. close to Fort St. John on Thursday after 5 pm PT.

According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake had an initial strength of 4.2 and the epicenter was 22.4 kilometers southeast of Fort St. John.

People at Fort St. John, and Taylor, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek reported experiencing earthquakes on social media, but there are currently no reports of damage.

Honn Kao, a research scientist from the Canadian Geological Survey, said that preliminary data showed that the earthquake had a relatively shallow depth which is likely why the earthquake was widely felt.

"This is certainly an event that has been felt by local residents," Kao said. "Although this is an important event for the region I don't think it will cause significant damage."

Hydraulic fault in the area

Although it has not been confirmed what caused the earthquake, Kao said B.C. The Oil and Gas Commission is investigating whether the earthquake is related to hydraulic fracture operations in the area.

Hydraulic fractures – or fracking – are when water, sand and other chemicals are injected underground at very high pressure to break shale rocks deep underground to extract natural gas.

"They have to connect the location and time of this event with a nearby injection operation," Kao said.

This area is from the country – western Alberta and northeast B.C. – has a high earthquake rate caused by fracking, according to a study from the University of Alberta.

With files from Johanna Wagstaffe

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