‘That was an earth­quake’

Sept. 29 mag­ni­tude 3.1 earth­quake felt in Yar­mouth and Digby coun­ties

Tri-County Vanguard - - FRONT PAGE - TINA COMEAU TRICOUNTY VAN­GUARD

Af­ter the loud rum­bling sound, it was the sud­den bang and vi­o­lent jolt that made peo­ple in south­west­ern Nova Sco­tia im­me­di­ately ques­tion if there had been an ex­plo­sion or crash on Satur­day morn­ing, Sept. 29.

But then most de­cided it was prob­a­bly an earth­quake. And they were right.

Earth­quakes Canada, at Nat­u­ral Re­sources Canada, says a 3.1 mag­ni­tude earth­quake struck at 10:32 a.m. around Mav­il­lette, Digby County. The depth was recorded at 10 kilo­me­tres.

“Lightly felt in the Digby and Yar­mouth NS area,” the web­site read. “There are no re­ports of dam­age and none would be ex­pected.”

Still, peo­ple did hear or feel some­thing.

Tina Hel­prin said she and her hus­band Rick were sit­ting in the kitchen of their Saulnierville, Digby County, home.

“All of a sud­den we heard a two- or- three- sec­ond rum­ble, di­rectly fol­lowed by a loud boom-type noise and our en­tire house shook. The wood stove in the kitchen has ket­tles on top of it and they were rat­tling,” she said, say­ing it scared one of their dogs, who ran to her for com­fort. “This very loud noise then car­ried on with an­other two- or- three- sec­ond rum­ble right af­ter the boom. My hus­band de­scribed it as a “wavetype” ef­fect. We both looked at each other and I said, ‘ That was not thun­der,’ and he said, ‘ Nope, it sure wasn’t.’ I said, ‘That was an earth­quake.’”

Many peo­ple said they felt and heard some­thing in their homes, work­places and also at Univer­sité Sainte-Anne.

“I was at work in Church Point, (Digby County). I heard a slow rum­bling sound, lasted for 30 sec­onds. It woke up a stu­dent in the build­ing. I asked this stu­dent, ‘ Did you hear an odd noise too?’ She an­swered, ‘I heard it, it woke me up,’” said El­iz­a­beth Thibault. “At first, I thought it was the sound of thun­der, but it was sunny out­side. Then I thought maybe it was a plane pass­ing by . . . It was a scary, un­easy feel­ing hear­ing this rum­bling sound.”

Oth­ers de­scribed the quake this way.

“I was on my pa­tio. Heard the rum­ble first and then the vi­bra­tion,” said Beth Cle­ments Sweeney of Meteghan Sta­tion, Digby County. “It was quite loud and it was strong enough that I’m sure things in­side the house shook. My cat took off to the woods.”

While many did no­tice the earth­quake, oth­ers in the re­gion felt noth­ing.

“I was talk­ing to my mom on the phone and we live 20 min­utes away from each other. I heard the rum­ble, both on the phone and on my end of the phone. My mom freaked and thought some­one had driven into her house with a ve­hi­cle,” said Reanne Jeffery. “I felt my feet vi­brate from be­low me. We couldn’t be­lieve we both heard and felt it, while my hus­band at work felt noth­ing. It was strange.”

Sev­eral peo­ple were taken aback by what they heard.

“We just got a new pump put in min­utes be­fore the boom and the house shook. We ran to the base­ment be­cause I thought it had ex­ploded,” said Dar­lene Me­lan­son. “It was an in­tense few sec­onds.”

“I heard and felt a big boom, fol­lowed by a few sec­onds of rum­bling,” said Lynn Bel­liveau. “At first, I thought it was thun­der. Then, a sonic boom. I even thought it might be a big truck that had an ac­ci­dent nearby. It was strange, es­pe­cially be­cause it sounded like it was right over or around my home in Meteghan River.”

In Yar­mouth County, Josh Cot­treau in Car­leton said it sounded like a jet en­gine and said the whole house vi­brated for about six sec­onds. In Gard­ners Mill, Yar­mouth County, Deb­o­rah Thibault heard what sounded like a huge truck rum­bling past or a pro­longed roll of thun­der.

“Never felt any shak­ing, though,” she said.

Earth­quakes in Canada are not un­com­mon. They hap­pen vir­tu­ally ev­ery day although the ma­jor­ity are not no­ticed by the pub­lic.

There have been sev­eral earth­quakes in the area of Yar­mouth and Digby coun­ties in re­cent years. In 2015 there were sev­eral earth­quakes recorded over a short pe­riod of time. A 2.9 mag­ni­tude earth­quake hap­pened 38 kilo­me­tres south­east of Digby on June 20 and on June 25 a 2.5 mag­ni­tude quake hap­pened 39 km south­east of Digby. Those two quakes went largely un­no­ticed.

July 1, 2015, saw a 3.8 earth­quake cen­tred around 42 km NW of Yar­mouth. Peo­ple de­scribed that one much the same as this most re­cent one, say­ing they heard a pro­longed rum­bling sound that got in­creas­ingly louder un­til it cul­mi­nated into a large bang – to many it sounded like an ex­plo­sion. Peo­ple re­ported the house or build­ing they were in shook.

Although still a weak earth­quake, at 3.8 it was one of the top 5 ‘strong­est’ mag­ni­tude earth­quakes recorded in Canada over a pre­vi­ous 30-day span at the time, dur­ing which there had been about 315 earth­quakes recorded.

Other re­cent earth­quakes in the re­gion have in­cluded a 3.2 earth­quake cen­tred 19 kilo­me­tres north of Yar­mouth on June 9, 2016. On Dec. 13, 2016. A 3.0 earth­quake was recorded around Church Point, Digby County. In Au­gust 2017, a 2.9 mag­ni­tude earth­quake was recorded 41 kilo­me­tres north­west of Yar­mouth.

When earth­quakes hap­pen, the pub­lic is en­cour­aged to re­port it to Earth­quakes Canada and to fill out a ques­tion­naire on their web­site. “You can help pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about the ex­tent of shak­ing and dam­age for earth­quakes in Canada,” the web­site reads. “The spe­cific de­tails you may pro­vide will help us de­ter­mine how your area may re­spond to fu­ture earth­quakes.”

The ques­tion­naire asks for lo­ca­tions of where the earth­quake was felt, the time it hap­pened, the du­ra­tion, the type of build­ing you may have been in, if there was shak­ing or other ef­fects from the earth­quake and if there was dam­age.

Earth­quakes in Canada, of course, pale in com­par­i­son to ones that hap­pen else­where in the world. A dev­as­tat­ing and de­struc­tive mag­ni­tude 7.5 earth­quake that trig­gered a deadly tsunami hap­pened in In­done­sia on Sept. 28. The de­struc­tion is mas­sive and the death toll high.

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