DHAKA: At least three tsunami waves have been reported on the British Columbia coast, following a 7.7-earthquake that struck near Haida Gwaii on Saturday night.
No injuries or damage have been reported.
Two waves have hit Haida Gwaii, at Langara Island on the the top end of of the islands formerly known as the Queen Charlottes, Emergency Information BC reported. The first measured 28 centimetres, the second 44 centimetres. A smaller tsunami wave was recorded in Tofino, measuring 12 centimetres.
A tsunami warning was downgraded to an advisory at about 11:30 p.m. PT for the North Coast and Haida Gwaii, as well as the Central Coast including Bella Coola, Bella Bella and Shearwater.
Officials say a tsunami advisory means a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves dangerous to people in or near the water is expected.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre originally said there was no threat to the Hawaiian islands, but a tsunami warning was issued later Saturday and remains in effect until 7 p.m. Sunday. A small craft advisory is in effect until Sunday morning.
The waves have not caused any damage, but there have been evacuations in Haida Gwaii and Port Edward, near Prince Rupert. Officials say it`s not clear how many people have been driven from their homes.
Officials are advising people to stay out of and away from the water.
The quake, which struck just after 8 p.m. PT, was felt across a wide area of north-central B.C., including Prince Rupert, Sandspit and Kitimat, and was felt as far away as Quesnel, Houston and Kamloops. It was followed by multiple aftershocks as high as 5.8 in the following minutes.
It was centred 198 kilometres south-southwest of Prince Rupert at a depth of 10 kilometres, the USGS said.
There have also been reports of people feeling the earthquake as far away as Edmonton, St. Albert and Grande Prarie, Alta. as well as the Yukon.
Natural Resources Canada seismologist John Cassidy said this type of earthquake occurs when two tectonic plates slide against one another, adding it`s not the kind that usually causes substantial tsunamis.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was the possibility of “widespread dangerous coastal flooding accompanied by powerful currents.”
“A major earthquake occurred in the Haida Gwaii region [formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands]. It was felt across much of north-central B.C., including Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Quesnel and Houston. There have been no reports of damage at this time,” Natural Resources Canada said in a statement issued Saturday night.
Neil Goodwin in Sandspit felt a rolling motion Saturday evening.
"It was very fluid, I guess you could say. Everything was moving. It lasted for at least a good 30 seconds. It was difficult to stand. Definitely there was some damage that was done to people`s houses here in town."
He said the whole town evacuated and left for higher ground.
"People are definitely nervous, worried about their homes. I think everyone has got out safely. We practice tsunami evacuation drills quote often here in town, so I guess it`s all paid off now."
BDST: 1320 HRS, OCT 28, 2012
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