Teachers, Students Absent - But Earthquake Detectors are Headed to School in BC
My husband read a headline to me tonight about the BC government installing earthquake detectors in schools this fall. That was sort of a surprise, considering right now the teachers are on strike and our finance minister has vowed he can't spend any of the province's $225 million surplus on settling the strike.
Safety is an important thing, but don't kids have to actually be in school for an earthquake detector to benefit them? Anyway, do we really have a lot of earthquakes here in BC? I can't remember ever hearing about any. Granted, we only moved here 18 months ago. But you'd think if there'd been a major quake we'd have heard all over Canada....
Well I looked it up, and it turns out that BC's Queen Charlotte Fault is a counterpart to California's San Andreas Fault. There have been a number of significant quakes along this fault, including one in 1949 that was an 8.1! In 2012, there was a 7.7 magnitude tremor . These events seem to rarely cause much in the way of property damage or loss of life, presumably because that part of BC is not heavily inhabited.
The folks in Vancouver do look over their shoulders, though, because one strong earthquake in the wrong place could be absolutely devastating. It's said that sometime in the 1700s there was a magnitude 9 temblor hit the region, wiping out an entire First Nations village with no survivors. The resultant tsunami was felt all the way to Japan.
So while earthquake detectors are probably not a necessity in our little valley, apparently on the coast they can make a significant difference in allowing students to get to a safe place before the worst of the tremor occurs.
Image credit: San Andreas Fault as seen from the air, by the US Geological Survey (public domain)
Image Credit » http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/earthq1/how.html