The “shaking” and “vibrations” felt by residents on the southern James Bay coast on the evening of May 1 was the result of an earthquake, according to National Resources Canada.
At about 8:04 p.m. on May 1, many Moosonee and Moose Factory residents experienced a shaking sensation, rattling dishes, and heard what one resident described as a “tractor passing by.” The effects were felt in Fort Albany, Kashechewan and as far away as Attawapiskat First Nation. No injuries or major damage are reported.
According to National Resources Canada seismologist Catherine Woodgold, the region experienced an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.3 on the Nuttli magnitude scale (Richter scale equivalent for eastern North America). The Nuttli scale is a logarithmic measurement of the energy released by an earthquake.
“We don’t expect any significant damage at that magnitude level, just knick-knack falling from shelves and things like that,” Woodgold said.
According to the National Resources Canada website, earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.5-5.4 are “often felt, but rarely cause damage” while a magnitude under 6.0 can cause “at most, slight damage to well-designed buildings” and “major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions.” Magnitudes between 7.0-7.9 are considered a “major” earthquake that can cause severe damage over larger areas while 8.0-8.9 is consider “great” and can involve the loss of life.
The epicenter of the earthquake was located about 69 kilometres northwest of Moosonee, somewhere between Moosonee and Fort Albany.
Woodgold said there have been 48 earthquakes within 100 kilometres of Moosonee since 1980, with three having magnitudes ranging between 3-3.6. Magnitudes under 3.5 are generally not felt.
The biggest southern James Bay earthquake recorded in the National Resources Canada database was in 1965 when a 4.9 magnitude earthquake hit the region.
Woodgold encourages residents who felt the earthquake to report it through the National Resources Canada website at: earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca
Many families along the James Bay coast are headed out onto their ancestral lands during this time of year. It is our most important season as so many...