Eastern Canada Isn’t Ready For Strong Earthquakes: Study

Pierre Babinsky, spokesperson for the Insurance Bureau of Canada in Quebec, is seen on Jan. 9, 2018 in Montreal.

MONTREAL — While people in British Columbia are mindful of the fact they could eventually face some of the strongest earthquakes in the world, at least one study warns there’s a lack of awareness of the risk in Eastern Canada.

One report released last summer predicts Montrealers could suffer $45 billion in economic losses if the city were to experience an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale. That’s the estimated strength of a tremor that hit Montreal in 1732.

Maurice Lamontagne, a seismologist with the Geological Survey of Canada, says 300 houses were damaged back then but if a similar earthquake were to occur now it “would cause a lot more damage.”

You don’t get huge earthquakes like they get in Japan, in California.Maurice Lamontagne

The study by Zurich-based Swiss Re, a company that helps cover other insurers, noted that Quebec’s Charlevoix region northeast of Quebec City was hit in February 1663 by a 7.0 magnitude quake.

Lamontagne added that in 1929, an earthquake just off the shore of Newfoundland measured 7.2 on the Richter scale.

The tsunami that followed caused most of the devastation and killed 28 people when it hit the shore.

Moderate earthquakes

Each year, there are about 450 quakes in Ontario and all points east.

“You don’t get huge earthquakes like they get in Japan, in California,” Lamontagne said. “But we do get what you call moderate earthquakes, so six to seven on the Richter scale are possible.”

The Swiss Re study, entitled: “Earthquake Risk in Eastern Canada: Mind the Shakes,” says quakes in the East tend to be of lower magnitude than in the West, “but their loss-inflicting potential, particularly in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario, is huge.”

The study points out that three of the biggest cities in Canada — Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City — are all located in the most earthquake-prone regions of the East.

Two tremors measuring 3.0 and 3.5 were recorded in the Beaupre region on Jan. 2 and Jan. 4 and were felt in Quebec City, about 40 kilometres away.

Uninsured for damage

Pierre Babinsky, a Quebec spokesman for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, says 85 per cent of people it surveyed in 2017 said they didn’t think their home was at risk of being damaged by an earthquake.

“It’s about three per cent of people who have earthquake insurance in the Quebec City area, about four per cent in Montreal,” he said. “And Charlevoix, where they felt a few stronger earthquakes, the

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel

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